When I checked on the vine this year, there were no vines in the thorny rose bush but several strands had found the arms of the Redbud tree using the tree's graying branch to wind its way toward the sky. Again, I unwound the wiry vine and threaded its long beauty through the top of the trellis, finally cutting back the Redbud branches. Though dozens of blooms climbed my fence, I still wanted to protect the blooms in the Redbud tree. I didn't want to just cut them off, so I worked carefully to unwind the vine without breaking its thin green stem.
Our kids are like this vine.
They will follow, even cling to the supports in their path - even the thorny ones, even on the wrong path. Whether we are their parents, their teachers, their coaches - they are wondering if we will come check on their wanderings.
Here's what I noticed about the vine in my backyard. Even when it isn't growing on the trellis like I planned, the vine still blooms, the brilliant, purple catching my eye.
My son is 18 today (well, yesterday now). We celebrated all weekend, checking his wishes off the bucket list and ringing in his 18th year with Witcher-esque style. The OSU Spring Football game, his Junior Prom, lunch on Sunday at Click's in Pawnee, a lazy afternoon, Qdoba today for lunch and Zios for dinner. We tend to spread the celebration out. Perhaps the highlight occurred when he and his daddy received his latest ACT score in the mail. His score improved, and he remained pleased.
We are not quite done guiding the vines of this young man's life and even today, in the midst of so much joy, there are places where parts of the trellis are missing, the void too great for the vine to cross. So we invite the hands of others to tend to and guide our lives - connected and intertwined.