A rite of passage is an event that signifies transition and change in a person’s life. This week, that’s exactly what will be happening with one of our sons. He is not our oldest son, but, he has been our son the longest and was our very first adoption. He was, in so many ways, my rite of passage. Adopting Jesse changed everything. We had a child to raise and he was ours forever. My husband went back to school and finished his degree. My arms were filled, for the first time with my own child. We were at a new stage, adoptive parents, and he was the catalyst, the first of many.
This week, Jesse will change everything again. The thing is, on this side of the change one can only wonder where it all will lead. But, here is what I know, in a few days he will leave Alabama and head to Arkansas where our extended family lives. A few weeks later he will turn nineteen. He will hunt, he will visit, he will work and he will transition from one stage of his life to another.
He is ready to stretch his wings in earnest and explore his options and make his own choices. He will likely also make his own mistakes. All the while, doing so about 500 miles away.
Each experience with this transitional phase seems to be unique to the person. For some it is moving out and getting an apartment. For another it will be going to college in another town. It may be an enlistment in the military. Perhaps, even marriage and the start of a family of their own.
Whatever the situation and timing may be, every parent knows that this day will come. The moment when our heart declares, my child has become an adult and now, everything is different.
By in large, I think it is our human nature to resist change. We tend to wallow out our spot and get comfortable where we are. We are after all, creatures of habit. I came across a great quote that I can not give credit nor take credit for.
‘Life stops for no one’. It does not stand still. There is no pause button. There is no rewind, replay or do overs. The only healthy viable choice is forward. Resistance is futile! And when we attempt to do so we just make things worse, more complicated and difficult.
‘The future is not a fictional place’. No, indeed. It is just as real as it gets. It’s just as sure as they come. Not only is the future coming, it is around every corner and travels with two companions. They are change and the unknown. I think this may be my greatest struggle this week. I am at my best when I know the plan and there is no sure plan, there is only a sure change.
Sure, there’s a part of me that wants to re-enact a famous movie scene and with much drama and great sound effects, refuse this rite of passage. But, I’m no wizard and the change that’s ahead is no monster that I must defeat.
Instead I’m going to celebrate with him this new season of life. I’m going to still be watching, albeit from a great distance. I will be cheering him on, hoping for the best and praying more than ever before. But, I won’t cast a shadow over his day in the sun. Nearly nineteen years ago, he became my rite of passage. Now, it is his turn.