For the longest time, this date felt so very far away.
Parenting is an interesting journey. You start off, for the most part, not knowing what you’re doing, and you pray a lot that you mostly get it right and avoid those huge mess-ups that can be life-altering. Then as you get older, you start to think about how wonderful it would have been back then to have the information you’ve accumulated in your head for so many years.
I like to think I did okay with my children given I actually did jump head-first into a huge mess up when they were little. That being the case, I am blessed to have to two healthy and amazing kids that are on their way to being adults and living their lives.
Actually … they’re there already.
Today is my son’s 18th birthday. He is my youngest, and I now stand at this point in my life where I am the father of two adults. It’s a weird feeling and one that – truth be told – kinda’ snuck up on me. It’s weird in that there are only two things I feel I’ve left to do as a parent.
The first is to continue to advise my children as they continue to learn and grow. I once heard someone say you stop being a parent when your kids are thirteen or fourteen and from then on you’re just a consultant. I think there is a lot of truth to that, which leads me to the second thing I’ve left to do. Pray all the advice and counsel I’ve provided my children has been sound and rooted in wisdom.
Specifically with my son Daniel, I’ve spent today looking back on the memories we’ve shared, mostly good but a couple of them painful. I think about all the times we’ve made each other laugh. I think about the times when he was small enough for me to toss him into the pool. I reminisce about all those weekend nights we’d stay up late playing video games. And I hang my hat on the series of heart-to-heart conversations he and I had this time last year as I was prepping to move to the Dominican Republic.
So on this milestone birthday, I think the only thing I can tell (continue to tell) my son is to love God, praise Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit guide him in all he does. There are so many good and relevant Bible verses I could select to use in this post, but I think I will go with the ever so wise words of the psalmist who is seeking direction, guidance, and provision on his journey:
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” – Psalms 119:105 NLT
Happy birthday, Daniel. These 500 words don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the pride and love I feel for you.