A few days ago, Justice turned 22. We were in different states and on different schedules, but, of course, after texting a few times and then catching him on the phone, I spent most of the day thinking about him, who he has become, what I admire, what I pray for, and the like. I suppose, the nearer I am to 50 and beyond, the more I participate in that "life review" process that we "mature adults" engage in.
When I was expecting Joshua, I just couldn't get my head around what life was going to look like as a family of 3. Doug's and my love seemed to fill up every inch of space. How could there be more? And then I experienced that amazing creation of God: exponential multiplication with the addition of children. When Justice was born 22 months later, our love just exponentially multiplied again. And so on, and so on! I love to reflect on this. I didn't come from a large family, and this was just one of a million wonderful things I had the opportunity to discover.
I also spend a fair amount of mental time these days reviewing different aspects of our child rearing, what I think we were right about and what I wish we had done differently.
Joshua and Justice are so different. In personality, in appearance, in tastes and interests. (I loved genetics in school. I especially loved the charts we made showing all the possibilities in the gene pool.) When there was friction, our mantra was that they were best friends! As if that resolved whatever the problem was. Justice told me a while back that telling them they were best friends put great pressure on them. It didn't help them get along. In fact, it just made them feel worse because they loved each other as brothers, but just didn't always feel like any kind of friend, much less best friends. I am grateful he told me. It's helped me adjust the way I counsel the others coming along.
As Joshua and Justice have each grown into "their own," they have connected in the way I always wanted them to. They appreciate each other's strengths and have mutual respect for their distinctiveness. They are brothers and they are friends, and they definitely have each others backs.
And I am so grateful to have very sweet relationships with both of them. Sometimes I laugh at the differences in the conversations we have, but only because it's a beautiful reflection of who each of them are.
I will be "reviewing" for the rest of my life, I am sure. And I hope I will never stop adjusting, correcting, and improving my parenting, especially as more of the kids move into adulthood, as our relationships adjust accordingly, and as they offer important commentary.