I wrote the following blog post on Friday afternoon, March 23.
A 12-hour train ride. That is what lies ahead of Jackson (my firstborn) and I, as we make our way back from Chicago, IL to Wichita, KS (via Newton, KS). For Jackson’s 13th BD, Annie and decided to give him a trip anywhere in the continental U.S. We let him choose the destination, plan many of the outings, etc.
Before deciding on Chicago, Jackson decided he wanted to visit a large city he had never been to. A very complicated process of choosing that city ensued. Well, basically, it involved the question, “Where could we get the best pizza and ride trains and busses?” That narrowed it down to NYC and Chicago, and since deep dish pizza reigns supreme over all other forms of pizza, Chicago became our choice.
Our week was as “touristy” as you might expect. We visited museums, ate at popular restaurants, went inside local shops, talked with natives about their city, slept in late, stayed up late, watching the river dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day, etc. And speaking of food, of the 7 days we were gone, Jackson managed to eat pizza 6 of those day!
For me, the highlight wasn’t so much Chicago as it was reflecting on the fact that I have a 13-year old son. In the not too distant future, this son will likely be moving on to college or to begin his new life of independence of total responsibility.
Where has the time gone?
It wasn’t that long ago that I was rocking him back to sleep in the middle of the night, holding him on my chest, generating an incredible amount of body heat between the two of us, and thinking, “Will this ever end?” And, of course, that season ended too soon.
The verse that keeps coming to mind as I think about the growth and aging of children is Ephesians 5:16 – “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Parents, you know that time will fly with your kids. And there is a plethora of conversations and instructions you want to give them before they are “on their own.” Do that as soon as you can.
And don’t wait for someone else to teach your kids what they need to know.
Recently, a friend of mind and I were talking about how to approach the “sex talk” with our children. And I detected a level of hesitancy on his part to do it all, and just let his kids learn that on their own as they get older. I shared them my burden on the issue, “If you don’t teach them, someone else will. And that someone will likely not share your own values and worldview. Paul says that those days that will teach him are evil ones.”
In this chapter of Jackson’s life, there is so much to teach. And there is enough time. It must be seized. Carpe diem!