“My kids are at the age now where every good thing that happens for them is bittersweet,” I lamented to a friend recently. With three young adult/older teenage children, exciting opportunities abound: college acceptances, semesters abroad, internships in another city…you get the idea. Am I excited about the wonderful opportunities my children have? Of course! Am I a proud mama? You bet! I’m certainly not wishing they were unable or unwilling to do anything but sit on the couch with the remote. As parents, we work hard to help our children grow and mature. We strive to teach them what they need to know, be, and do to be independent; children leaving the nest (hopefully a little at a time) is the end game. Yet every flight away from the nest brings them farther from their Mom, and I don’t mean just geographically.
Recently our middle son confided in Sean and me that he is not entirely sure God exists. With all that is going wrong in the world, he doesn’t really “see God”. We talked about it a bit and we explained where we see God working, namely in the healing of Sean’s father (his grandfather), along with a few other life events. Here’s the thing: my middle son, Henry, has high function autism spectrum disorder. He sees black and white. He needs tangible proof and will question you until the cows come home. He is also darn smart so there is typically some practicality to his arguments.
My latest storm was, in fact, a hurricane. While Irma was pounding Caribbean islands, I, along with every Floridian, was running around making preparations. In the midst of buying bottled water and batteries, hurricane lamps and canned food, I struggled with fear of the unknown. Would we take a direct hit? Would a tornado spin off and damage our home? Would we lose power? There was no way to know.
There was one school, the farthest one away, that kept coming up in her mind. She applied, got in, and so we visited St. Francis U. It was a beautiful spring day at home: sunny, warm, birds chirping. We drove up the turnpike for hours. We got off the turnpike and started driving into the mountains. It was getting colder. Off in the distance it looked like snow. We drove on. We got closer to the snow. We got farther away from civilization. We reached the campus…on top of a mountain…in the middle of nowhere…yikes!
Somehow the gardening gene seems to have escaped my genetic code. The most prevalent things in my flower beds are usually weeds. I have planted some lovely perennials, and sometimes they actually bloom. I can water and feed the plants, and pull weeds until my hands ache and my fingers crack, but with every rainfall the weeds are right back, taller and more abundant than the week before. They have no vision for the beauty the garden could offer. They follow no plan, but take root in the smallest sidewalk cracks and take over any tiny spot of soil they can find.
Having worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist in my past, I marveled at every birth. To think this new creature, so sophisticated and complex, could arise from two very simple cells that came together and started differentiating into a marvelous being just boggles my mind. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have enough faith in happenstance to believe this could occur purely by chance.