Thursday, March 30, 2006

Making of a Man

Making a Man

My oldest three children are girls and seeing girls transform into women isn’t particularly mystifying because I, as a woman, have personally gone through that process. How a rowdy boy morphs into a man is completely mysterious to my female mind and the prospect of seeing a son though the turbulent teenaged years was something of a daunting prospect.

It’s funny how G-d makes the most of every opportunity and the scripture that G-d works all things for good for those who love Him has, once again, proven itself to be true.

I really cannot complain about Jonathan. He’s a normal teenager. He had a couple of brushes with stupidity when he was fourteen, nothing that would put him behind bars, but enough trouble to warrant the, “You are old enough to screw up your life,” speech from his father and me.
I have a theory that the teen years from thirteen until sixteen are a struggle for most kids, but the teen years from sixteen until college and beyond are sweet reward for the hard work of laying the foundation in earlier years. When he was fifteen, Jonathan started saving for his own car. He started caddying in the local country club and advanced to working in the local garden center. He also did landscaping for side work. His Brother-in-law’s little brother was selling a late model BMW. Jay was to be trusted because he was Kevin’s little brother and because he was anal retentive about his cars. Jonathan spent nearly two years saving his money to buy that sweet ride.
Jonathan turned sixteen; he passed his driver’s test that summer (summer of 2004,) and at the end of the summer was able to go purchase the BMW. The following day was the first day of school.

The very next day, Jonathan lost control of the car in a rainstorm and slammed it into a guard rail, basically totaling the car. Jonathan only had liability insurance on his car and ended up with a total loss. My heart was sick when I went to pick him up at the accident scene. If I had the money, I would likely have paid to have the poor car repaired. I had no words of comfort for Jon, merely words of sorrow at his loss and love for him as his mother.
I prayed for G-d to use this situation for the good, not knowing the intricate pattern woven by unseen hands.

A few days later, Jonathan’s older sister, Jessica, gave him her Jetta. I thought Jessica was about to buy herself another car but she didn’t, Jessica sacrificially gave Jon her car, leaving her with the Harley and Band Van. Over the next several months, I quietly observed Jon transform from a restless boy into a man. He became thoughtful and studious. He has gone out of his way to be communicative and considerate of Pat and me as well as the rest of our family. It takes everything in my power to keep a straight face as he corrects his brothers’ table manners. He is getting recruitment letters from impressive schools and he scored a 95 percentile in the ASVAB’s.

I believe having Jessica demonstrate a sort of sacrificial love toward him was a catalyst for Jon to stretch and grow. He thinks of himself as part of a team, whether it is the football team at school, the sound-team at church, or part of our family, he has lost that selfishness so characteristic of young teenaged children and taken up the mantle of being part of something larger than the self. He is talking about being an officer in the Marines and I give him the, “I didn’t give birth to you and nurse you and sacrifice for you to have your ass shot off because some terrorist got lucky,” but I would be proud of him in spite of being worried about his safety.

It's funny how things work out, several months after Jessica gave Jonathan her Jetta, she was able to buy a very sweet BMW for a song. It's a pretty green with brown leather seats. It's in great mechanical shape as well, the Jetta has been hanging in there for the past two years, Jessica had cautioned Jonathan that the Jetta didn't owe anyone anything, but it has been there over these past two years.

G-d works all things for the good for those who love Him. I would have done anything to spare Jonathan that accident, but it turns out, the accident was a blessing in disguise.


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