Yesterday our first born turned 14 years old. I just can’t believe it. The years have flown by and it seems like only yesterday I was carrying him around in one of those Baby Bjorn pouches. I look at him now and think to myself “precious time is running out”. I’m well aware of the fact that he has four more years of school and then he’s off to college. We have a great relationship and I know we will always be close but things will be different once he’s no longer living at home.
Brody had been talking about his birthday for weeks while eyeing up the latest electronic gadget and telling my husband and I how life would be so much easier if only he had one of “these” special items. He was willing to fore go any get together with friends or a party but loved the idea of dinner at his favorite restaurant with “just family” which means the four of us.
I had made my own plans and also wanted to bring a cake to school so he could celebrate with friends. Turning 14 is a big deal and I wanted it to be a day to remember. I decided this should be a complete surprise so I kept my plans quiet. Brody picked Carrabas Italian Restaurant as the place to celebrate his birthday dinner. Keith and I agreed to give him money which would go towards that fancy gadget he wanted. He would have to come up with the rest though. Those new tech gadgets are so expensive!
Everything was set and in place. All we had to do was wait for the day to arrive and start celebrating. Well, the day came but our plans didn’t. Brody woke up with a fever, major head congestion and a horrible cough. Instead of cake with friends, he would be in bed all day digesting Advil and cold medicine. Instead of Carrabas Italian Restaurant for dinner, he would have cereal instead because it was the only thing that soothed his throat. We did present him with his present (yes, that fancy gadget he so desperately wanted) with an invoice for the remaining amount that he owed us to make up the difference.
I felt SO bad for him. My heart ached. To be sick on your 14th birthday – now that’s just wrong. I thought about how I would have reacted at that age and based on my personal history, I know I would have thrown a holy fit! What amazed me is that Brody didn’t mind at all. He didn’t whine, complain or make any comments that would suggest he felt sorry for himself. I was so amazed at how well he was handling this change in plans. I do think he was thrilled about laying around the house in his p.j.’s all day without his mom giving him a list of things he needed to do. I can be bossy at times 🙂
When I told him how sorry I was because of the way things turned out on his birthday he said “It’s o.k. mom, everything is fine. I’m just glad I got to spend the day with you and dad.”
Wow! God used my son once again to teach me a very valuable lesson. I thought the cake, presents, celebrating with friends and special dinner was the ingredients to make Brody’s 14th birthday a success. However, he was completely content with just being with us. My focus was on things and activity. His focus was on relationship.
This morning as I was reflecting on Brody’s comment yesterday, the Lord whispered in my heart, “That’s what is important to me… a relationship.” God reminded me that it’s not about the activity I try to generate in celebration of him. It’s not even the acts of service that are most important. His focus is on relationship.
It is only through spending time with someone that you actually get to know them better. I want to know God better. I want to seek him with all of my heart, mind, and soul. I want to see him more, hear his voice when he speaks to me and experience him in common and uncommon situations throughout my day. My focus is on relationship.