Welcome back to my favorite guest blogger—my wife . . .
I followed a tractor trundling down a country road, green-gold with late spring sun. My only job in the rear of the procession was to turn on my flashers and stay on the brakes so I didn’t run into the brush-hog that swayed a little behind the hardworking tractor. We might have reached fifteen miles an hour in the 2 miles from Uncle Joel’s to our house. Maybe slower.
I watched the driver shifting through the gears as we pulled onto the road—he looked expert. If you didn’t notice the odd detail of bikes tied down in the tractor bucket (and who could help noticing since he raised the bucket ten feet in the air—he said it kept the bikes from bouncing out) you might not notice he was only thirteen. Today was his birthday.
Perhaps it was because we had just left the house where my tractor driver was born, thirteen years ago.
Or maybe it was the sunlight today on three sun-blond heads before me—the birthday boy driving, and two brothers taking notes from the orange fenders. I think, more precisely, they were just loving the wind in their hair and the drama of being in charge of a tractor in high gear.
I realized that out of the daily blur of “time for naps” and “pick up your socks” and “eat your zucchini” suddenly the years of little boy coalesced into my son picking up responsibility like a man. In some cultures he would be counted an adult.
So I have a birthday prayer—for this child and all my children: “God, let me pay attention to the details that matter to you and let the less important go—there’s never much time. Give me eyes to see who they were made to be and train them in that way. And thank you for the joy of watching them grow.”
I see clearly for a moment that the next thirteen years are likely to go just as quickly as the last thirteen and I could be holding his child before it seems possible. Of course the great thing about that is there will likely be another tractor driver to follow. . .