If you could see me right now, you’d probably notice the big smile on my face. I am a happy dad! My oldest son has just arrived home from his first year of college. We are all back together, like it used to be. He left our home last August, we drove him all the way to Virginia for school, and except for a few weeks at Christmas, for the last 9 months he has been a world away.
It feels like one of those moments that seem to come more often as I get older. It seems like something happened yesterday and years ago at the same time. Take, for example, those moments when your child turns sixteen, (which happened with our middle son this week). You look at them as if just yesterday they were a baby, and at the same time it seems you can’t even remember when they were young! If your kids are too young for you to have experienced many of these moments, they will come soon enough.
Moments like these make me a little nostalgic; perhaps a better word would be reflective. I think back on all the work that went into such a monumental day. The idea of sending my child off to college is scary; add to that the fact that he has cerebral palsy, and I’m sure you can understand the anxiety we felt. A lot of preparation went into our decision. This was no overnight success. This idea started years ago.
When our son was young, we never left him in any activity alone. The only times my wife or I were not volunteering in whatever our son was involved in, it was because his grandmother was there. When he was younger, this was because we were afraid the other kids would trample him. When he got older, it was because we were afraid he would be left out of activities.
I remember a transition at one point, when we decided to let him go to a church camp without one of us. This was a big step for me. Letting someone else help Kyle seemed weird. I know we did the right thing at this point, but if we had tried the same thing the year before we probably would have driven up the next day to check on him.
I see now that the life we live is a building, not built over night but over a lifetime, brick by brick, with each piece important to the ones below and above it. The step below gives us the confidence we need to take the next step. The step above is where we need to build going forward. Each brick builds both us and our children toward a better future. I know most of us came to the construction site with architectural plans. We handed these to the master builder and said, “ Build this,” but we found out those plans just weren’t in line with His best for us. So we started slow, with no plan. We put one brick down, then another, and as we got the hang of brick laying the bricks started going down faster and faster. Then a day comes when we get a moment, stand back and see the wonderful wall of bricks God has enabled us to build so far. I can see a part of God’s pattern, and I like it! Maybe it won’t be on the cover of Architectural Digest, but today I smile and call it home.