I am the mother of six sons. I like dolls and dress ups and teacups; not much for dirt and worms. I never played an organized sport, never enjoyed watching them at the fever pitch level shared by my husband and sons, and I don’t understand most of the rules. I did, however, coach our 5-year old’s soccer team the year my husband coached three of our other sons—not because I was any good, but because there was only one expectation: teach them to kick the ball in the net—in the opponent’s net.
Eventually I learned what a down is, that some fouls are intentional , and what defense wins means. But after 78 different uniforms just for soccer (not counting select), and those for baseball, basketball, swimming, football—well, you get the idea— I became the perennial proud, loudly cheering , that’s-my-boy!- kind of fan. So image my surprise—my utterly stupendous jubilancy—when out of nowhere, our eldest son announced in high school that he had joined the National Writers Association.
“He wants to be an author!” I told my husband over the phone. News like this couldn’t wait until evening. “I guess I had more influence on him than I thought.” In my wildest dreams I never expected this. He was always fooling around with electronic gizmos, taking things apart to figure out how they worked. Maybe all this time he was just being destructive –in a nice, respectful, Catholic boy way—as his real desire developed. Did he want to write user manuals for computers? Was he setting his sights on the next great American novel? Poetry was probably out of the question, but it didn’t matter. What mattered is that he wanted something I alone pursued in our household. There was a part of me that bloomed as a part of him.
Several weeks later, that big hunk of a wonderful son rushed through the front door waving his letter of acceptance. “It came,” he exclaimed. “I got my membership card.” He ripped the envelope, opened the official notification, and shared the letter with me. And there it was in black and white; its logo colors aflame in orange, red, and yellow. “Dear Motorcycle Enthusiast,” it began, “The National Riders Association welcomes you….”
As my parent, I’m sure there were times God thought I was joining one of His groups only to watch me sign up for some other association. I’m sure there were times He scratched His head and said, “I gave her this gift, that opportunity, and this is what she’s choosing?” I’m sure there were times when He wanted to shout, “Defense wins. Keep your faith and it will all work out in the end.”
I know that, like my son and me, my connection with God is about more than one activity, one lesson, one effort, one sin. I know His influence is stamped on my life in spoken and unspoken ways. I know that beyond a few basic responsibilities—like teaching my sons by example how to move their souls down the field of life and into heaven’s net—that He delights in the way I co-create my life experiences with Him. And that’s why I’m confident that when it’s my time, He’ll be cheering proudly and loudly, “That’s my girl!” when I cross the pearly gates finish line—perhaps on a motorcycle—holding two teacups for our tea party in His hand.