It’s apple season. And apples really don’t fall far from the tree. I have always said La Chica is an apple that didn’t fall far from the Momma tree. It’s clear she’s stubborn, fierce, and feels things much more intensely than the average bear. I always used to think the Boy had pieces of a younger me, the anxiety, the shyness, the quest for perfection. I saw shades of me in the Boy, but I never thought his apple fell that close to me.
Now, I’m reminded I always underestimate my children. This Boy, I used to think he was who I used to be when I was a child. He started his life slowly, hesitating, unsure. Afraid to try new things. Afraid of his own shadow. Afraid and uncomfortable to be in his own skin. He slowly dabbled in things to see if they’d fit: fencing, horseback riding, robotics, soccer, lacrosse, scouts, orchestra. He’s slowly learning to feel what resonates with him.
As he knocks on the door of Teenhood, he has outgrown and discarded his former shell of his youth like a molting crab. I turn around and suddenly there’s this Man-Child. And I’m both simultaneously proud of him, and exhausted. You see, I pack more into a day than the average bear does in a lifetime. I realized long ago that this one life we are given is one hell of a life, if you make it one. So much to see, so much to do, so much to feel. The possibilities are endless, if you see opportunities instead of hardships and obstacles.
So I venture out and explore the world, I give my time and efforts back to the community, I create relationships with others to feel feely things. I work hard, raise my family fiercely, and fill my soul intensely. I am always making, doing, being. I do hard things. I am scared and brave. I believe that I can do anything, and I do. Anything. And everything. Sometimes not well, but I do them anyway. The kids have always seen efficiency at it’s best, and worst, in me. I am mindful to do and be as much as possible to fill my soul and be a good citizen to this world. Sometimes I’m successful at the juggling act, sometimes not so much. Sometimes I’m cranky, sometimes I’m at happy hour. They bear witness to this every day . I do all of those things not only for me, but because having children forces me to be a better person because there’s always someone stalking me.
And someone’s been taking notes. I can’t get mad at him for that. But my God, I don’t know how I’m going to manage our schedules. The Boy has suddenly decided he’s hell bent on leadership positions in scouts for both altruism and self-improvement. He’s also decided he’s volunteering, a lot, at a horse rescue shelter, which happens to be very, very far away. And he’s decided he’s improving his self-defense skills by adding another class to his schedule. All while attending Chinese school on weekends, playing the cello, working towards his Eagle rank in scouts, and doing well in school. And yes, somehow he still finds time to complete his chores, read for pleasure, fight with his sister, and play like a Boy should.
And I was just calling him lazy yesterday. And in many moments, he is. In many moments, I am too. I had no idea this little apple had been watching me grow and reach for the light. I turned around last night after he begged to be able to volunteer in a leadership position, and I realized he’s taking root and reaching for the light too. I caution him about being overscheduled, he nods and continues to reach for the light. In that one moment, I see that he has goals for his life, and he’s working towards those goals. I see that he’s developed the perspective and attitude that we prioritize and do what we need to, just do it. I see that he’s willing to do the hard work it takes to achieve. I see that he’s choosing to fill his moments with activities that fill his soul. I see him settle into his own skin. I see him making calculated decisions to be an active participant in this world, instead of just sitting and being, hiding in shadows, in my shadow. Just in time, he’s starting to bear fruit.