Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Juicy Fruit

This week found my husband and me in Spain visiting our oldest son, Nick, who is studying in Salamanca for his junior year of college. Since he left at the end of August, frequent emails and skyping and phone calls have kept us in close touch. But we needed to see him, hug him, squeeze him and spend time with him. We yearned to experience, first hand, his new life there. To meet his friends and his Spanish madre. Visit his classroom. Check out his bedroom. Shop where he shops and walk down the streets where he takes his daily walks to and from school. Eat in his favorite restaurants. See what his Spanish adventure is all about. Top to bottom.

As a writer, I’m supposed to have words to match emotions. Supposed to have the ability to paint word pictures. Word smith my way through the past five days. And yet I can’t. It was too much of an emotional high. It hit my gut and my heart much more than it hit my head. Hit my throat and my eyes in ways completely unexpected. Caught me “confounded by glory” (as my new friend Hattie describes me.) with frequent lumps in my throat and drops at the edges of my eyes.

Seeing your kid grow up nearing completion is one of the best fruits of the labor. It takes years—two decades really—of planting seed in the most fertile of soils. Applying daily doses of sunlight and water. And rich fertilizer. Soaked with oodles of time. Sprinkled with diligent prayer. And nourished by the passing of time, some of which is barely endured by silence or absence or distance or illness…or all of the above.

And then to wake up one day and see fruit! Not just hardly-ripe fruit. Fruit too hard to squeeze or of pale color or less than succulent aroma. But juicy fruit! Fruit that, when you grasp it, moves in your hands. Holds a delectable scent. And oozes out a few drops of liquid. It’s so ripe that it’s downright juicy!

That’s how I felt about our visit with our son. He has grown into a man of character and generosity. Of breadth and depth. Of balance. Concern and consideration for others. I know that, over the past three years, you have received “Nick Notes” on his continued progress. On his health. And his well-being. And I know that it will probably do your heart good to hear that he has grown into a person who I am happy to report is not only doing beautifully physically; he has grown into a man who I am delighted to call my son. He has born fruit. Wonderful, ripe, fragrant, squeezable fruit. Juicy. One of life’s most precious gifts.

It is my hope and prayer that as you journey though parenting that you, too, shall find juicy fruit awaiting you. If even in a couple of decades. It is so worth it. This labor that we call parenting—love—will take us to heights previously unimaginable. And Oh! What a ride!

I pray showers of blessings on this Thanksgiving to you and yours! Love the ones you’re with.

All my very best,