Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Watching them turn into adults

My son turned 14 this weekend, and since he is my oldest, he is my reference for watching the kids grow up. While there will be many differences when my daughters kick 'growing up into high gear, for right now, he is my responsible grown up in training.

And it wasn't his birthday or the small trip to Disneyland with us and his best friend that really called by attention to it all, but the fact that Christmas is just around the corner.

Here he is, ready for presents galore with both his birthday and Christmas in the same month. No child is richer than my son in December; however, we do have to focus on holiday gifts for everyone. Typically, Craig and I help the kids buy gifts for the siblings and mom and dad. They pay for part of it and we pick up the rest. It has become a fun tradition for us to all go shopping the weekend before Christmas, and the kids love selecting gifts for everyone.

This year, about 2 weeks ago, as we finished up lunch, my son asked if there was anything, "like a game or anything," (his words) that Craig and I wanted for Christmas. At first I though he meant a video game, but then he clarified, "no, a family game, like Catan or something, that you and dad want." And it hit me; this year we will not be helping our son pay for the gifts he buys. He has worked hard, saved babysitting money and allowance, and has his budget and idea list in hand. He hasn't been this excited since he bought me a ring when he was five (his little song then? "I bought a present for someone I love . . . " I will NEVER forget the song or the ring), but this is significantly different.

I joke with the kids that if they could drive, they could probably live on their own since they are so self sufficient. But there is more to living on one's own that makes one an adult. A responsible grown up saves for a rainy day or upcoming expenses, anticipates future needs, plans accordingly, and considers the needs and desires of others.

My son is well on his way to becoming a wonderfully responsible "grown up." And while it hurts my heart to see my sing-song little boy now as a young man, I love the young man he is becoming, and in a way, I can't wait to see my girls do the same. Moments like these are the true gifts in life. Of all the gifts I receive, the blessing of my children and family is the absolute greatest.

Merry Christmas, and may you find your greatest gifts as well.