So, moving on...
On Sunday, instead of going to church like the good missionaries do, we went to the beach. Actually, we really like our little church here, so it’s not like we were dying to skip it, but last week sucked so bad, on so many levels, that we just had to get outta here. We needed to regroup as a family, remind ourselves that, ya know, we kinda like each other... We really needed to show our poor kids that adults can be pretty awful to each other sometimes, but they can also forgive each other, and apologize to each other, and be friends again...oh, yeah, and then they can stay married. So, that was important.
So we packed our bread and our $12 jar of peanut butter and we hopped onto the brand new, totally smooth, toll-road that goes from here to the closest beach, and in just under $4, and just over one hour, we were covered in sand and salt and vitamin D. And it was good. It was very good.
AND, it was the day before my incredible, oldest son’s 16th birthday.
I’m pretty sure turning 16 in a foreign country is weird. Like, it’s just not a big deal here. First, you can’t drive until you’re 18. And then, Latin culture is big on birthday number 15, so 16 isn’t really a thing. And also, if we lived in the states he’d be getting his license now, and for his birthday, we would most likely be giving him a crappy (not sure if I can say that, but I think, yes) car. Like a $1000 turd-mobile off of Craigslist, but still, a car.
So, as parents, what do you do for your child as they celebrate a “this is very big deal in another country” milestone birthday?
That’s right. You give them a surfboard.
I’m telling you this because the next day, when 6’ 3” of 16 year old came lumbering down the stairs, he sidled up to me, put his arm over my shoulder, rested his prickly man-chin on top of my head, and then - I am not making this up - my sometimes ungrateful, jerk of a child said, “Mom, you do realize that that board is, like, the BEST birthday present...ever. Thank you so much, I love it.” He said that. Out loud.
So basically, I want you to know that giving your kid a surfboard, pretty much makes you a rad parent. And, I’m pretty sure it makes up for the previous 15 years of ridiculously bad child rearing. So there you have it.
Parenting 101: Screw up your kids? No problem. Buy their affection. It fixes everything.
Ooh, and now I have this ammo that I can use again and again for the rest of his life.
“What’s that son - you want me to pay for college?....Um, are we forgetting that you got a surfboard for your 16th birthday?! Sheesh...you just take and take....”
- or -
“I’m sorry. Did you just ask me ‘What’s for dinner?’...Wow. It’s almost like someone around here doesn’t have a longboard in their bedroom.”
- or -
I know, right? I make it look so easy...
Ok. So, what I’m getting at, is that I now have a freaking 16 year old. And I’m supposed to be the one in charge. And I need prayer for that. I need lots and lots and lots of prayer for that. I’m, like,...scared.
This is my plea for your prayers.
Prayers for God’s grace and peace. Prayers for guidance and help and gentle instruction from those that have done this and done it well. Prayers that God, who has redeemed the world through His son, will redeem my weak and oh-so-flawed efforts to raise my son, this tall, furry, man that lives under my authority, to be a man after God’s own heart.
Oh, and pray that he doesn’t get dragged out to sea, or eaten by a shark, or skin cancer. All of those would be really bad endings to the “We got our kid a surfboard.” story. But, do pray that when he’s out there, on the water, that he would be swept up in God’s creation, that he would be moved by it, and that he would fall even more in love with God because of it.
That would, indeed, make us rad parents that gave our kid the best gift...ever.