Driving back home from campus having just dropped their youngest daughter off from a weekend visit home, Lynette turned to Russ and began chuckling. “Isn’t it amazing how God has grown us!” she began. I can’t believe we were able to respond as we did.”
“You are so right,” Russ responded. “I guess raising four kids will do that for you. I love that kid so much and just want her to be successful.”
The day had started out similar to every Sunday on the weekends that Britney had chosen to come home. Together they would get up and go to church and rush home to pack up her things. Clean laundry, books, computer, purse, snacks for the dorm, became the routine checklist. Lynette would usually make a visual sweep of every room just to make sure Britney hadn’t forgotten anything that she might need for the next few weeks.
Typically they headed out the door for Britney’s restaurant of choice. That was her ‘treat’ for the weekends that she came home. “Yeah, something other than the standard cafeteria fare!” she would sing.
As they were leaving the restaurant with half a pizza left from their meal, Britney gasped. “Oh, no! I forgot to get my shirt for the concert out of the dryer. I’m so sorry, Dad, but we’ve got to go back home!”
Twenty minutes to return home wasn’t really that big of a deal. “At least it’s early enough in the day that we can still make it back home before dark,” he responded.
On the road again, the conversation was light. It was obvious that Lynette and Russ were just enjoying being with their daughter and hearing her talk about her world at school. They had never fathomed how much they would miss the chatter of their kids until this one left for college.
About an hour into the drive, Britney remembered something important. “Oh, I can’t believe it. Mom, we didn’t get laundry detergent!”
Responding with extreme calmness, Lynette suggested they take a detour into the next town and find a grocery store. “Glad you thought of it now,” she remarked. With that, Russ took the next exit without emotion or frustration. In ten minutes they were back on the highway.
With less than 10 minutes until they would arrive at Britney’s dorm, a distraught groan of “Oh, Dad, you are going to kill me!” came from Britney’s lips. “Did either of you pick up my dorm keys? I didn’t see them on the table with my other stuff. I can’t get in my dorm without them. We’ll need to go back home.”
Russ quickly pulled off to the side of the road to scan the van for the keys. As they looked, Russ remembered having put them on the key hook at home. None of them had thought to grab it when they left. Starting to turn around and drive the hour and a half home, Lynette suggested that they call campus security to get Britney in her dorm room so she could get the things done she needed for class tomorrow. It was decided that Russ would return with the key later that evening…another three hours on the road.
Playing back the day’s events with Russ, Lynette was able to reconstruct what would have happened if this has been their firstborn. First, Lynette would have chastised him for forgetting the shirt. Then when the laundry detergent had come up, she would have told him that he needed to plan ahead. She knew that both she and Russ would have been upset that they had to give up that extra time stopping at the store and would have probably let their emotions show how much he had upset their day! But the key would have set both of them off into a spiraling whirlwind of accusations of “whose fault it was”. They would have given voice to words that would have destroyed, rather than nurtured the relationship.
The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
Forgetfulness by our 20-somethings can be frustrating if we are the ones impacted by their lack of thought. May God give you patience and wisdom as you provide servant leadership and keep your tongue in check.
“Let go…and let God,”