writing and wringing are not synonymous…


My children attend a catholic parochial high school and as one of the requirements for graduation, the boy will attend a three day God-centered retreat, a few hours north from home, next month. When the paperwork at the end of last year, describing the retreat, my newly self designated, agnostic son said, “Yeah, you can get me out of that okay?” Looking back at him I smiled and replied, “Uh, no. The only way you won’t attend is if your appendix bursts the night before,” I replied. “But mom, it would be disingenuous for me to attend something I no longer believe in,” He countered. “Why don’t you believe?” I asked expecting an answer similar to my own at his age….”Because church is boring and I’d rather not,” Instead he replied, “Because there are too many other things out there that can explain everything,”. “Bay, that’s where faith comes in…” I replied. “Faith…is like pretending there’s more to just having a boulder blocking your path,” He returned. Not wanting to get into a philosophical discussion with him at that time, I simply gave him a generic answer, “Bay, this is a requirement for graduation and as such, three days discovering whether you truly believe in God or not, won’t kill you. In fact, you might even have a great time…” I tried. “Not likely,” He argued in reply. “Then woe is you,” came my snarky reply as he lumbered unhappily from my sight.”

Last month, I attended a meeting which explained the content the kids would be given during their three day trip and the parents were asked to write him a letter, expressing to him how much he’s loved–how God loves him, etc. His father and I have decided to each write him a letter, because the nature of our relationship with him is different (I tend to be more loud…go figure; I try to push him out of his own way, whereas his father tends to talk and reason with him). In any case, the one proviso to the letter is that one of the letters must contain a paragraph to be read aloud so his classmates can hear (Good God!) At the meeting, two teachers demonstrated what a paragraph might say, to give us fumbling parents an idea of what to write to express love and respect for our boy.

The letter is due next week and his father and I have found writing those letters quite difficult. One would think, writing a daily blog about my goofball son would make this easy… but with so much to say, how do I begin? Lately, I’ve found myself wringing my hands daily in stress. “One minute I want to wring your neck…” I started one letter, before deleting the line. “No, that wouldn’t be a good thing to have read aloud,” I thought. “But only one paragraph from the whole letter is going to be read aloud…” I countered… “Okay, Bay, do you remember when you were small and I used to say I should have named you Payne….cuz you’re a pain in my ass…? No? Oh, never mind….” Start over…

I’m sure I’m putting way too much importance on this letter. You never know, his father’s may contain the magic paragraph (“though I don’t see how”-my brain snarks back). This morning while in the shower, I wrote a brilliant letter in my head, but then couldn’t remember the starting point afterward. Honestly, telling your oldest child how proud you are of who he’s become should be something worth reading and should contain more than just “I love you and am proud of you…” but frankly that’s where I find myself today. I don’t know…between wanting to wring his neck about missed scholarship opportunities and writing about his tenacity for making me want to wring his neck, I’m caught between a rock and hard place. However, with God’s will, I’ll find the right words and sentence structure, both of which I’m sure he’ll tell me are wrong.

I’ll let you know…



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