The tides are ever changing within the little world we build ourselves and the bigger world around us.
My youngest son turned nineteen yesterday. Our entire little family unit met at a licensed restaurant to celebrate the day he turned old enough to drink. Not that any one of us had a drink, but it was a favorite restaurant in the past so the day the youngest member of our family was old enough to join us, we stepped back in time. Back to a place we have visited many times before.
Only you can't step back in time. The restaurant didn't feel the same. The food didn't seem to taste quite as good. The magic of discovering and enjoying something new together didn't translate well when we tried to recreate the scene.
Earlier in the day, my youngest son and I went to see a movie. Going to the movies together is something we did often when he was young. We don't do it so much any more. His birthday themes often revolved around a super hero, a movie theme or going to see a movie. We walked down the corridor of the theatre and I had a flashback of a time when I was taller than he was. When I was the one who drove us to our destination. When he looked to me for that which he was not old enough to do on his own.
Those days are gone. But we still walked down the same theatre corridor, we cashed in on our movie coupon which included popcorn and drinks. We watched "Wonder Woman" together and I looked to him to hear his take on the movie.
Gone are the days when he was a young, innocent little boy who was easily impressed by any super hero movie. These days, he looks to plausible plot lines, directing, special effects and forms his own opinions according to all he has learned along the way.
I refrained from "passenger seat driving" as we made our way to our destinations yesterday. It seems like only yesterday when he was learning to drive and my coaching was required. He hasn't been driving that long, but I now feel relaxed in the passenger seat and my purpose was simply pointing out a parking spot and directing him down a new road to a new destination.
He is a working man now. He drives his own car. He pays his own bills. He has his eye on a future which includes further education so he may backtrack a little before he moves towards a future of complete independence. But the tides have changed. I feel it with every step I take.
Before we parted ways, we took a family picture. The first picture was typical of our family. Each one of us standing close together, but independent of the other. Hands in pockets or hands at our sides. Each one of us a separate entity, but there is a feeling of unity. The second picture, my middle son grabbed hold of us and pulled us close. There is a true sense of joy in each and every one of our faces as we nestled in together and felt the physical closeness of a family united.
Two pictures are worth two thousand words.
Yes, we are strong and independent on our own. But united, we are stronger, more resilient, happier and I do believe we each feel a little more secure knowing we have each other's back.