A little while ago, I saw where a young man posed the question, “What makes a man?”
I’ve been thinking on that. So often we hear in graduation speeches, “Now we are adults,” or when a young person gets his/her driver’s license, “Well, so you’re driving, you’re grown now.”
I beg to differ.
I don’t think that any one thing makes someone grown. Or not grown. I think our lives are a series of mature and immature choices, selfish and not. We can slowly become more “grown up” and in the midst of that, we can make some really “child-like” decisions. Having a child, getting married, getting a job, turning 18 or 21–none of those makes one grown. It’s what we do in each of these moments that determines if we are really “grown.”
Today I watched as my oldest made a decision that was not comfortable for her or what she really wanted to do at all. She chose to do something for someone else because she loves them and they needed her. She is growing up so fast right before my eyes, and today only served to remind me of that.
This afternoon Cooter came in and said out of the blue, “Don’t force love. Let it come to you.”
I almost spewed my water.
I asked him where he’d heard that. “Oh, Princess said it to K [a neighbor boy around her age] today when he was talking about the girl he really liked.” The way Cooter imitated her, I knew she’d said it with compassion.
I’m not one for all these early boyfriend/girlfriend pairings–I think they’re way too young–but I am happy to know that my girl can be compassionate and sensitive to someone else’s emotions…..and show great wisdom in such circumstances. Wisdom beyond her age…..
Yesterday morning, our Princess woke up and came to my room in tears because of a bad dream. Cooter was already piled in there, staying warm under the covers. He was a bit groggy, but to my surprise he leaned over and gave her a hug and asked her what happened.
Surprised by sweetness. Right there. I didn’t know he had it in him.
When it comes to my children growing up, sometimes I have a blind spot. Often I don’t want to see it so I don’t. Or I might look for it in my oldest because she’s over 18 and in college, but I forget to look for it in my littles.
The truth is we are all still works in progress and all still growing. Tonight I am thankful for the ways each one of my children is growing. I give thanks for the reminder that the most beautiful form of growth can’t be measured on a scale or yardstick or even by looking in the mirror. The most beautiful and precious ways people grow can only be seen by looking in the heart and hearing their words and seeing their actions. And for today, I am reassured by and thankful for the compassion and love I see in those gifted to me.
May it be a growing sort of day…..
Love to all.