They were the words all mothers hope they never have to hear: “I stick a raisin up my nose!”
And so began my first week back in the saddle of employment.
I would be lying if I said my return to the working world was smooth, rested, and joyous. To be honest, most things have an edge of sour when you are not sleeping well. For as excited as I was to teach young people again, I could easily recognize the compounding stress of a full-time job lurking in the shadows.
My toddler son’s triumphant announcement echoed in my ears until the great raisin extraction ensued three hours later.
Expect the unexpected, they say.
Despite the current busyness of life, I carve out special time each week to take my children to the local library. On our way home, we take a different, more direct route. The timing is just after lunch.
During my fourth consecutive week of library adventures, I began to notice a trend – a pack actually – of 10-12 young adult males on what appeared to be a scheduled walk around the block. I know nothing of these men or their stories, but the aura they carry seems to say, I want a better life.
The pieces, of course, never remain a mystery for long: Alcoholics Anonymous.
Sometimes I ponder my son and the unknown future that lies before him. Finger food antics will one day fade into a distant memory. And yet, I am filled with the awareness that the manhood towards which my son slowly approaches will lead to decisions (and errors) that I cannot prevent or even detect on the horizon. Perhaps one day he will seek healing of his own.
And the greatest of all I do is love. The conviction to love my children, even when they fail me, fail themselves, and turn our lives on their heads. I am convinced that the safe place we establish in our hearts for our children is a shelter that they will seek for the rest of their lives, especially during times of distress, doubt, and depression.
For myself, my children are still small, and I am not yet grown. They are building their home within me, and I can hear their sweet voices over the cacophony of life.
There will always be raisins. There won’t always be answers. But there will always be a mother just strong enough to catch the son who stumbles.