Duncan and I have been on our own for this week. Kami is visiting her last living grandparent, a dear lady who lives in Boise, Idaho. She was concerned about us: would we eat right? Would the house be okay? I told her, "We'll be fine and happy. You'll come back to see us both sitting on the couch in our underwear watching TV while everything in sight is covered with a fine layer of Cheeto dust." For some reason, that did not comfort her.
Since this was also Duncan's Easter break I thought I'd rearrange my schedule so we could do guy stuff -- golf, shooting, topping up our cholesterol levels -- but that isn't the way it turned out. He got one of his birthday presents early -- a custom made radio for his 74 Ford Gran Torino complete with MP3 player and extra speakers. It fit in the old slot so it was supposed to be a simple switch out... but it wasn't. After several false starts we drove it over to Best Buy. It took them 5 hours but now Dunk has tunes!
Other plans had to be changed on the fly. It all reminds me that we are not in charge of much. Duncan is a man -- six foot four and 190 pounds of pure muscle. Kids love him and run up to him at church. They know he'll be gentle with them. Girls know they are safe around him. Guys know he'll treat them with respect. I'm proud of that, but it also means he has lots of friends and sometimes that interferes with the plans I make. We haven't golfed yet, or gone shooting yet. We went to see Ice Age 2 (very good) and we've done a few things like that, but he is a busy young man. And I'm giving him freedom to be who God wants him to be and to make the network of friends he will need in the next few months or years.
Tomorrow evening we go have dinner with the Marines. He will talk to them about the Delayed Entry Program and the Platoon Leader Option. We've known he was a warrior for a long time now. When people see what he is planning many of them come to us and ask how we can let him join the Marines (not that we could stop him). Won't we be worried? Won't we be terrified?
Sure. But we will also be proud. Decisions have costs. If he decides to be a Marine he will not be... well, a lot of other things. If you go to Lipscomb that means you can't enjoy Harding's campus life or football weekends at the University of Michigan. Decisions are not neutral.
And letting him grow, letting him go, is our decision. It hurts sometimes. I sometimes miss the little boy who followed me everywhere, but Duncan is not my puppy. He is God's son. God gave him his talents, personality, body, and mind. Duncan has decided to use it in the best way he can.
When parents make the decision to give their children leave to find and fulfill their mission, the parents usually suffer. But that's all right. Decisions are not neutral and sacrifice is the name of the game when it comes to parenting. It's not about us. It's not even about them. It's about standing in the place God gave you when He planned you and wove you together in that secret place before delivering you to two people -- parents -- who are commissioned to teach you, hone you, and then deliver you up.
We are all Abraham and our children are all Isaacs. We have to take them to the mountain of God and give them back to Him. Thanks, God, for letting me have Kara and Duncan for a time. Even though the gift wasn't permanent, it was wonderful.