This morning, after a fabulous hour of playing Frisbee / Nerf football outside (in two feet of snow) with my youngest, his older brother called from the other side of the country. We all miss him like crazy. It’s so weird to get up in the morning and see the sun streaming into the hallway through his open door. I see and hear things that I want to tell him and when I turn around he’s not there! But I think his brother misses him even more. When the phone rang, I was up to my elbows in batter so my youngest picked it up. His voice lit up the entire house when he heard his brother’s voice; it was full of compassion and excitement. When I heard him I started crying, thinking about how fabulous they both are, and how their love for each other is the greatest gift of all.
Maybe being grown up means living or traveling alone, going to the doctor by yourself, or keeping a plant alive for more than a week. Maybe it’s the first time you collected a paycheque, when you got married, had a baby, or planned a funeral for the first time. For me, it was realizing that nothing is a sacrifice for the people I love. Consciously putting aside my own selfish desires (in this case, wanting to rip the phone out of my son’s hand to hear my other son’s voice) on a daily basis to do what is right. This doesn’t mean that I let people walk all over me or have no time to do things that only I enjoy; on the contrary, it gives me the ultimate freedom to be who I am meant to be. When you feel that freedom, that love, and the peace that goes with it, that’s when you’re grown up, and nothing you do for others feels like a sacrifice.