by Laura Lynn Tyler-Thompson
We used to fear that call that comes in late at night when you know it can’t be good news. But now it’s a text, like the one I got a week ago from my 21-year-old son, Aaron, “Mom, I’ve been in an accident. I’m in emergency.” That’s all I needed to read as I jumped up, got my jacket and my purse, with cell phone already dialing his number as I headed straight to the car. Imagining the worst, at least I knew his fingers were still attached.
“Where are you? What happened? Are you ok?” Just days before I was having a different conversation with him about keeping his room and the kitchen clean in the place he rents from me. As I walked behind the curtain of his room in the ER, I was shocked to see the neck brace and wires monitoring his heart and my instinct to get to his face and kiss his shaggy beard took over. “Mom, I’m fine. Everything’s ok. The car’s totaled and my friend is in the other hospital across town.” Several hours later after two rounds of x-rays, blood work and slow movements due to soft tissue damage, we walked out. My son was alive and everything would be ok, today.
Family. Is there anything that we can take for granted more, or can suddenly send us into a raving panic faster, than that beautiful nucleus God gave us in our cherished loved ones? Psalms 127:3 (NET) says, “Yes, sons (and daughters) are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” However, this reward comes at a price. From the moment we find out we are having a child you know what I mean, there are encumbrances and liabilities associated. The worry of the “what ifs”. The concerns over their choices that make us bite our lower lip. The person they are dating with a nose ring and a tattoo that says, “Be Afraid.”
What about our world and the changing values? If you have kids in school, you may have already heard of SOGI, ‘Sexual Orientation Gender Identification’ where kids are now asked what gender they identify with. It’s being integrated into the curriculum right under parents’ noses, and most, as of this writing, haven’t heard about it. Recently the loss of a dear friend, who lived in our basement, to fentanyl sent our family reeling. Shawn had been over a year clean, when suddenly, he was gone. I am still grieving. My final conversation with him was “Shawn, these ways you are choosing will lead to death and you can’t die in my house, you have to move out.” I didn’t know it would be two days later that my words would forever ring in my head as we found out about his passing at a new friend’s house. What should I have done differently?
My passion is my ever growing love for family. My husband, my kids, my aging parents, my dogs and my extended family God has brought along side of me…recovering addicts and those with disabilities. I love them all. How can I be the best wife, mom, daughter and surrogate parent/aunt/sister to them…it’s an overwhelming calling. God grant us the wisdom to hear your voice as we navigate the brevity of life.
Laura Lynn Tyler-Thompson hosts the Family Matters conference in September.