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Monday, December 20, 2010

Knowing When

The ride to work started simply enough this morning but took an unexpected twist. I had to run Harrison by the school for a basketball clinic that the team is doing today. Our conversation turned to his upcoming birthday. In just twenty days, he will be turning 16. (I can't imagine where all the time has gone but that is a blog for another day.) We've talked about this subject off and on for the last several months as he has been practicing his driving with me. He expressed a little frustration with me (just as Morgan did when she turned 16).

You see, in the Barron household, turning 16 doesn't mean you are ready to drive just like walking into a garage doesn't make you a car. I don't believe, just because a person goes to bed one age and wakes up the next morning a different one, that it means that he is ready for the responsibility of driving a several thousand pound vehicle. Harrison is mostly very responsible. He keeps his room very clean. He has continued to keep his grades high (though daddy believes they could be higher) while being in Honors classes. He has managed his schedule with his other responsibilities. And he has completed 10 months of learner's driving with only two scares and, more importantly, no accidents. He is, in my mind, a very good kid.

But what I was trying to share with him this morning was the importance of good choices all the time. As I told him, all it takes is a few seconds of distraction or one time when your friends convince you to try something stupid. It can ruin your life or worse...end it.

We had arrived at school by this point and it was time for him to get out. As I looked at him, his head was hanging and he was looking a little defeated--not the way I wanted to leave him. I told him I loved him as he got out of the truck but his demeanor let me know he was still a little down. Here's where the unexpected turn came. As I drove away, I texted him. I told him how much I loved him and how proud I was of him. I told him that I just didn't want him behind the wheel of a vehicle until he was ready to take complete control. Then...I told him I had already buried one son, I was in no hurry to bury another. Unexpectedly, tears filled my eyes most of the way to work.

Knowing when to let go of this kid, as well as the other three, has been tough. He will gain instant freedoms he never had the day he gets that license and the truck he has been saving money for. And I know it's not fair to make him pay for the accident that wrecked our lives 6 years ago. But its hard not to be afraid sometimes. When I look at Harrison, I see me. I see this kid with all the potential and promise in the world. I have spent many hours praying and loving and arguing and hugging and get the picture. I want him to be a man...but only when he is ready. I just pray I'll know when.

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