Journeys in Parenting: Breakfast and Kanye

Tomorrow is my youngest’s 18th birthday when, to quote him I will ‘no longer have any children’! So here are two poems inspired by him in the last year:

YEAR OF THE MONKEY

That chubby cherubic grin

Enhanced by grandad’s glint

Now sits six foot up

Cartooned in highlighter

As you breakfast (in public!)

Suited and booted –

Except for tracksuit bottoms –

After a hard night’s partying.

I shake my head…

and smile.

 

HEY MAMA

Miles of motorway

Open road to open days

Potential future at the end of each journey

Reliving my own past

Three ages caught in one journey

Time to make the most of our time

Before he leaves

 

Miles of motorway:

I drive;

He chooses the soundtrack.

And I have learned to like (some) rap music:

Its energetic ebb and flow,

Playfulness with words,

Poetry with extra (hotline) bling.

I’ve even changed my mind about Kanye West –

A pretentious man it seems to me

With only a flat talent for singing –

Whose gift for rhythm, internal rhyme, and

Heartfelt lyrics moves me

Like my son.

One song he plays repeatedly

And I wonder

If the words are meant for me.

Are they his sideways attempt

To tell me how he feels

About us?

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Just Stuff

When my boys were in Junior school, we lived only a ten minute walk away. I would wait in the school grounds with other parents for them until they ran or trudged out at the end of their day and then, having crossed a busy road, we’d walk along the leafy pavements home carrying book bags, PE kit, and cello case.

It was a familiar routine – as was the ensuing conversation:

“So how was your day?”

“Alright.”

“What did you do today?”

“Stuff.”

“What sort of stuff?”

“Just stuff.”

In many ways, this blog is ‘just stuff’ – musings and poems sparked by common everyday experiences. But, like my boys’ school days, underneath the ordinary there is a treasure trove of feeling, learning, and meaning. And, as a Christian, I believe God is as interested and involved in the minutiae of our lives as much as any grand schemes.

Recently I reached a significant birthday and began to question God about the purpose of the rest of my life. I want to be able to look back on my life and know that my time and energy were well spent; that, having left thoughts of changing the world with a cure for cancer or an international peace agreement behind, I still made a difference; that my small world was better for my being in it; that my time was not wasted but each moment filled with life, God’s Life.

I want to know that my life doesn’t end up insignificant ‘just stuff’. Stuff matters. And my stuff is God’s stuff.

So here’s my small attempt at reflecting on the stuff life is made of, underpinned by the One who made both the life and the stuff.

 

(‘Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.’ Benjamin Franklin)