Grant and I are shopping, and it feels like the world's gone mad.
There are long lines of traffic. Long lines of shoppers. My patience goes short as the day goes long.
"I'm ready to be done," I say.
Grant just smiles. This is his thing. The crowds. The lines. The wild-and-crazy, too-many-people stuff that pushes me to the brink.
I'd rather be home.
I'd rather be still.
But we're standing in line. There are six registers and the trail of customers snakes to the back of the store. We're close to the front. But my arms are tired, my boots are pinching my toes, and I'd rather shop online.
"You okay?" Grant says.
"Sure," I say.
And a register opens. And we plunk our treasures down.
The cashier gives me the total and I root through the dark cavern of my bag. I fish out my checkbook and I'm about to sign on the line when Grant surprises me.
His arm comes around my shoulders. His lips are swift on my cheek. "I love you, Mom," he whispers.Then, smooth as always, he's standing there, hands in pockets, this sixteen-year-old man-boy ready to take on the world.
And I'm taken.
And I'm sold.
And I'm lost.
It was a small gesture. So swift and smooth no one would notice. No one in the world.
No one but me.
The last few years have been a strained time for us. Grant's been finding his own faith. He's been seeking. Searching. Pressing against our boundaries hard. There's been conflict. When Grant was little, I once told him not to touch the hot stove. His hand shot straight for the coils. He had to know for himself. He couldn't take my word. It's been like that.
He's had to find his own.
And now it's restoration time.
Our boy is coming home.
So I stand in the store with the madness all around. I finish the check and try to press my heart back inside. Grant's standing beside me and I don't want to cry. Not here. Not now. I'm grateful when he takes the bags, and he and I wind our way to the door.
I still don't like holiday shopping. I haven't much use for the stores.
But this tender place of healing with my boy?
I'm praying we can stay.