Sunday, 21 June 2015

Parenting with the end in mind


My son turned 18 this year. A rite of passage that is to be celebrated. And we did celebrate it in a number of ways, but there was one thing that we shared as a family that was one of the most precious moments for me of his actual birth-day.

The kids landed on our bed at 8 am in the morning this morning.  They have done this for many years when they were little but that did not happen that often nowadays. Usually it was because they wanted their presents.

But that was not the reason this morning. For 17 years Sam has been waiting to open his “time capsule”.

At the age of 1 we had a dedication with family and close friends at our house. We asked those that came to pray for us and stand with us as parents and would THEY be willing to walk with our child on his “life” journey. We asked each person if they wanted to put something into the time capsule that he would open when he was 18 and today was the day.

Secretly I was hoping it wasn't going to be an anti-climax for him as I couldn't even remember what was in the capsule myself.

Before he opened it I read from a diary I have been writing for Sam since he was only 10 weeks in my tummy, the kids love to hear stories from it over the years. This first entry spoke about the fact that even before he was born he was loved.

Then Sam opened the capsule. In it was, his first dummy, his first ball, his first jumpsuit, his first shoes and his ultrasound picture.  Then there were letters and notes from the people who were present. Sam was like a child again as we all re-lived moments and memories, we laughed and told stories and then he opened a letter from his grandma (Dave's mum) who had passed a couple of years ago.

She wrote that she knew she wouldn't be here to celebrate this special time but she thanks him for the joy he brought to her life and that she will see him in heaven. Well, we all lost it emotionally at that point and cried together, but what a precious message from beyond the grave. A collision with his grandparent, even one that had passed away.

There were many precious stories and letters from people who are still in his life, some have moved far away, others are still close by and others who thought they wouldn't be alive but are...but what a special morning to share together.

Sometimes speaking into a person’s life doesn't have to be a hard thing to do, sometimes it takes simply writing a few intentional thoughts on a piece of paper. Sometimes it is consistently being there, or simply taking any opportunity to have a party with good friends.  It is Intentionally marking moments and always having the “end in mind”. The wonderful thing is that this was a moment for us all, not just Sam, we will all remember that morning for a long time. It takes a little long-term thinking of setting things in place that can create moments that can become anchors for the whole family for a lifetime. On this day, although 17 years in the making, showed SAM that he was always loved and that he will always be. Our prayer as parents is that he will always have these moments where ever he goes, that they may keep him anchored in “love” for where ever he may sail next.