God surprises me.
I'm a mom of two teens. I love 'em, God bless them. We have fun together in general, but I see where we've drifted into a rhythm of life and work which has given us some kind of shortened vision. We know each other well and believe we know what each other is thinking or why we're doing something and we seem to think, act and speak out from that place. Two little weeks this summer changed this for me.
Every year, my husband and son go off to Comicon for a few days. My girlie and I enjoy those days in a staycation we really look forward to. We catch up on things we want to do. Nails. Shopping. Cleaning. We just do what we like and this summer I found myself just sitting on a beach while she bodysurfed. I know this is what summer was invented for, but we do busy really well. We're very good at errands and planning. So, on this particular day, we didn't have a plan to go to the beach. We knew we were stopping for a cinnamon roll for breakfast somewhere, but the shift happened and there we were.
There are other wonderful bi-products of this few days, beyond a rich tone to my skin. Like the opportunity to be somewhere with all the distractions turned off and so I could just listen. And hear the words of a middle schooler who is blossoming into a beautiful young woman. Listen and afford her space and time to share without barriers. Or competition. Or even, a schedule. This year, the week was exceptional. I've been seeing the changes my daughter has gone through as she matures and grows in what has been a (more-than-expected) difficult school year. Somehow, with a quieter sense surrounding me, I couldn't help but notice who she's becoming -- the heart of who she is. My love grew as I just opened my heart and my eyes.
And then it happened again, very unexpectedly, during the week my daughter went off to camp with her youth group. My husband is a freelancer. He often works from home. So, summer can mean lots of everyone time. This week my husband was gone working elsewhere and I was home. So, it was just me and the teen man. He's inches away from being the teen man-with-car. But for right now, he's still dependent for rides. And thankfully, a teen man who enjoys home.
I can't tell you exactly what we did on each of our five days this week. Oh, we put together a couple of new wood chairs for the yard. We took on a couple of other small home projects. Did laundry. Grocery shopped. He headed off to the movies with friends. He prepared the main courses of a brilliant meal, Seared Scallops and Lemony Shrimp Scampi, for his dad and me. But again, for most of it, I found myself alone with my son, just listening. Just being.
On our almost last day together, we headed out with the intention of going to the county museum to see the monolithic rock that traveled from a quarry in Riverside to become "Levitated Mass," on display at LACMA. As he was thumbing through his music library, aiming to share some good tunes as we drove, he expressed his (always) deep hunger. He's a bit of a foodie so when he said he was hungry for mac-n-cheese, I knew we'd be chasing a specific taste. That mac was to be found in a place about fifteen miles from us, but still mostly on the way to our destination. We shifted. We dined and as we sat, he shared a few more things about himself and then casually noted how very easy it is to just hang around together. Ah. What? Repeat? Did the teen man just say he was truly enjoying just the two of us spending time? Amid this life of: Hurry up! Let's go! Is your homework done? When do you have to be there? When do I pick you up? You want to do what? No! I don't have more money this week! Get your laundry done. Where did you put it? We found time to slow and to listen and experienced the people we are. He got to see me as the not-so-stressed mom. And I got to experience him as the beautiful, kind, interested and interesting man he is. I heard how much he loves so much. Movies, good books, ideas, cooking, the Lord, his small group at church. And when he said, "Hey, I know the rock will be really cool, but I'd love to take you to the theater around the corner. Dad and I have gone there and it's the best. You'll love it. No commercials before the movies. Just three trailers. Good seats. Not like other theaters and we could see Batman together. We don't really go alone to the movies much any more." All I could hear was let's go together. And we did.
The movie was great. He'd seen it a couple of times and was happy to point out nuances as he ate a Milk Dud.
The next day we welcomed Sissy back home from her trip and while it's only been about fifteen hours there seems to be a uncommon peace among us. I know we all feel it. And I know the source. The God of Peace didn't just provide the peace we pray for. He provided the opportunity to experience life differently, right here at home. To regain the peace that come from knowing and experiencing the people you love. The peace emanates from me because God's gift of time and vision has changed me.
I didn't see it coming and I couldn't be happier.