i watched my oldest son become a little more of a man today. i watched as he stood contemplating the jump he would have to make to cross the creek at the park. he knew he couldn’t just take the bridge. and i knew it was a moment that had to happen. even as everyone else was being loaded into the van and my mama instinct wanted to cry out, “get in the van for crying out loud! we’re all waiting. just jump already, or wade through it, or cross the bridge for goodness’ sake.” but i knew it was much more than a boy-need to jump. it was a coming of age moment. even my second son who is more the dare devil and jumper extraordinaire took a little bounce and uneventfully went on through the water. and the look was there in his eyes too. one of needing to prove himself. but amazingly it was as if he knew his older brother needed to prove it a little more than him. or maybe he knew it wasn’t his time yet. but my oldest did. and i watched. as he, time and again, ran from a distance away and stopped abruptly at the water’s edge each time. not quite ready. time and again he checked to see if i was watching.
there was one time after trying and losing his nerve several times that he squatted down and put his chin in his hands. and shook his head. this was not going to get the better of him. he was determined. but still unsure. standing on the brink of… something bigger. something he’d never done. something he needed to do.
and then he did. and he fell and got wet up to the knees. and it wasn’t a soaring success of perfection. but he was proud. he held his chest out a little further. because even with the fall, he knew he didn’t back down. he knew when he felt the need to prove himself, he proved himself worthy.