As the parent of any teenage boy knows, these years can be challenging at best. The changes teenagers experience are both overwhelming for them as well as the parents. Changes occur in the relationship they have with their family. Many times my son unknowingly pushes the people who love him the most, further and further away. Creating an environment in the home where it becomes problematic to be in his presence. Constant arguing with his sister and “butting-heads” with his mothers every comment or suggestion. I realize he is going through the struggle of wanting to claim his independence, yet knowing he still values his families’ love. These are the times when showing his love toward his family has become difficult, unlike the times of his youth, when he could show love more easily.
Then it happened, a miracle of sorts. It was Sunday morning, the first day of Advent. Circumstances would have it that his other two siblings went to Mass at other times, with other family members. So here he was, alone with his parents and for a moment alone with his thoughts, while driving home from church. While driving home we hear the voice of a 14-year-old boy requesting our attention.
“I have to say just one thing.” he comments.
We wait quietly for his announcement.
“Are you hearing me?” he says a bit louder.
I reply, “Yes.”
“All I want for my birthday is a clean slate." And then a moment of silence in the car.
"A chance for us to all be friends and laugh and get along." He continues. "I know I haven’t been easy to get along with lately. I just want a clean slate for my birthday.”
A tear wells in my eye, as I consider the enormity of this moment, and the very mature request coming from a boy turning fifteen.
It goes without saying, his birthday wish was granted.
Today, November 28, we celebrate the life of a boy who was humble enough to admit he needed a clean slate, and mature enough to ask for it.
Happy Birthday Daniel!