We nearly called him Katy. That’s right, we thought our second son was going to be a girl all the way up until three weeks before he was born. So much for effective ultrasounds. Well, after all that, we named him Michael, after the archangel of course. This week, he graduated from high school and is no longer “my little boy.” Who knew the years would go by so fast?
Time has this pesky habit of moving in one direction and never stops to let you take a breath. One day you are talking about what it might be like to have kids and soon enough you are in a delivery room. Nobody really prepares you for these seismic shifts and how could they. Life doesn’t give you much time to dip your toe in the shallow end of the pool. More often than not, events can overwhelm us and make it feel like we are being thrown in the deep end with no life preserver. At moments like that, it’s good to know who created this crazy world in the first place.
When Mike was born, he brought a new dimension into our family. No longer was his brother an only child. Kenny now had to compete for Mom and Dad’s attention, but he also had a new best friend. It was clear from the beginning that Mike was going to bring laughter and joy into our lives as well as terror and surprise. He loved being around other people and had no fear of trying new things. Even as a little boy, he would bring a smile to our faces with the smallest gesture and the hilarious reactions he would have to people he met.
Growing up, Mike loved to play sports and tolerated school as a way of connecting with other people and getting a chance to play on various teams. Deb and I spent many evenings and weekends on the sidelines of baseball and soccer fields as we watched him fearlessly learning to pitch or score goals. Where other kids were afraid to step onto the mound to face experienced batters, Mike gave it a try right away and got better with every attempt regardless of the outcome. It always amazed me how committed Mike was to get better at what he was doing, even if it required hours of practice and lots of physical exertion.
During his high school years, Mike came into his own and developed a huge number of friendships. He had so many friends that we often had difficulty keeping up with who he was hanging out with at any given moment. People just liked being around him. During the summer between his junior and senior years, Mike made a courageous choice that impacted many of these friendships. He chose to attend a new high school for his final year and accept all the challenges that go along with that kind of decision. That decision allowed him to be a starter on the soccer team and a member of a record breaking basketball team.
Mike is headed for college in the fall and a whole new set of friends. For many people, that reality can be pretty intimidating. Somehow though, I think Mike is going to do just fine. He gets one more opportunity to make people laugh and to make his mark on the world. We are going to miss him around the house (maybe not the humongous amount of laundry he creates), but know this is the right step for him.
Deb and I are looking forward to more time together, but realize that parenting doesn’t stop when kids turn eighteen. We are all headed into a new season and none of us knows what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. Even as we hope for a few moments to catch our breath, we are so glad that we serve the one who gave us breath in the first place. No matter what lies ahead, we know that He has plan for us – to prosper us and not harm us, to give us hope and a future. And he has a plan for Mike too – can’t wait to see how it all turns out.