Closing A Chapter

Whew… I’m not sure if I can write this or not.

Twenty-one years ago I became a dad. Eighteen years ago I became a father of two incredible daughters. Just about thirteen years ago, I became a father of three, and now had a son.

One of the things we have “tried” to do with our kids is teach them to be lovers of Jesus and to pursue Him. We have also tried to teach them to be honest, moral, wise, fun, adventuresome, laugh, make good choices, and true to who they are. That’s not always very easy as they grow, explore, and face so many things that seek to influence them.

About the time each of our daughters turned 13, my wife took them out for an overnight at a hotel, to share with them about becoming a young woman. She used the tape series (yes, I said “tape series”) by James Dobson, Preparing for Adolescence. It’s about 25 years old, but it’s still very good and very relevant.

Most of all, this time is a time of bonding, a time when a daughter can learn to trust her mother, and a time to prepare them for the road ahead.  I’m not sure every moment of every day our girls remember those lessons, but I do believe it’s in their hearts.

“I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where the pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory.” ~ Julian Barnes

josh2It’s my turn now.

I have been looking forward to this moment while also wanting to push it further away.  Somewhere deep down I have believed that doing nothing acts as a brake on the passage of time.

My son is getting ready to leave behind childhood and become a young man. Ugh.

Is he ready? Am I ready? A chapter is closing… actually three separate chapters are closing.

  1. Josh is closing his chapter on childhood.
  2. Traci and I are closing a chapter in raising Josh.
  3. Traci and I are closing a chapter with no more children in the house. Only teens and older.

I have to admit – Josh is an incredible guy, a young man. He has a heart of gold. He’s noble. He’s a jock. He is fair. He has a soft heart. He loves Jesus. He loves an adventure. He is respectful. He is smart and wise. He can hit the snot out of a golf ball. He is highly competitive.

It’s my turn now.

Josh and I are heading out tomorrow for our weekend. We’re going to talk about identity. Navigating through adolescence. Fighting through inferiority. “The talk.” Drugs. And more.

By the time most kids reach 13, I know they have heard about the birds and bees, or at least bits and pieces. Josh needs to know the truth, and not try and put together the pieces of what he’s heard. But, he needs to know he can trust me and come to me.

We’re going to a Hampton Inn. We’ll go through a couple tapes, and then head to Gateway Church for their Saturday church service. We’ll grab some supper (probably pizza), and then go back for another tape. Hit the indoor pool. Then we’ll finish up the tape series.

The next morning we’ll grab some breakfast and spend the day at Texas Motor Speedway to watch his first NASCAR race. Pretty cool. We have outstanding seats!

It’s going to be a GREAT weekend – just Josh and me.

It’s my turn now.

It’s time for me to read the final paragraphs in this chapter, and then turn the page. I’ve loved this chapter so much I’m not sure I really want to turn the page yet. But the page will turn without me. It’s not like the next chapter can’t begin unless I turn the page. But, he needs me to turn the page so he doesn’t leave me behind.

josh1It’s his turn now.

Josh is becoming a young man and leaving behind the days of childhood. There is so much ahead. The world is getting one of the best it’s seen in awhile.

This weekend we’ll turn his page too, and I hope, oh I hope, I can be worthy of raising such a young man to love the Lord his God with all his heart, mind, and soul.

I cannot tell you how blessed I have been to have had a boy like Josh. I have so many memories – from watching him skip through the streets of Disney World, to being his caddy as he led his age group in the North Texas Jr. PGA, to watching him cry with his best friend who had just lost his sister to cancer, to baptizing him, to playing Wii together, to cleaning up after he’d been sick, building his ultra-fast pinewood derby car, to so many other memories when he was a baby, taking him to his first day of school, and all the sports we’ve ever played.

Cecelia Ahern said, “Our life is made up of time. Our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. And yet time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could.”

Being a dad to three children, and in the time I have spent being a Josh’s father, I believe I have spent these last 13 years in the best way I possibly could.

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God… And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Phil. 1:4,6

I believe the best part about this weekend is the new chapter that awaits, both his and ours.

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