Life can flip you over and spank your ass like you’ve never had your ass spanked. Then in the very next frame it can bring you everything you’ve ever asked for, just to take it away again.

The ebb and flow of life is an ever-changing game that in reality is just us hopping along from one moment to the next, trying not to become trampled in the stampede of your neighbors collapsing home.

The lack of control can be completely devastating for some. To me, it just strengthens my faith. I’m very small at the end of the day. Very irrelevant really. Just  trying to grow my children into strong, humble, independent, self-sufficient, open-minded, open-hearted, smart individuals. Wow, what a challenge that is. One thing I’ve noticed all around me lately, is no matter how much of yourself you sacrifice and pour into a child, at the end of the day, they are their own flawed person. I can no more make them who I want them to be, than I can make myself into a bird and fly from here.

They will disappoint me. They will shock me with extreme successes. They will make bad grades on tests that they would have aced, if they had only studied for an hour. They will hate me. They will change college majors. Or not go to college at all. Or move across the country and only visit once a year. They could be gay. They could get married at 18. They may have 6 children by 22. They may never have children. They may have 20 piercings on their face. They may commit crimes. They may… they may… they may… and it is my job to worry and hope and guide and direct and pray and pray and pray… but as the days go by, my influence is only part of all of the influences that will wash them and break them and make them who they will be.

Recently I had a conversation with my mom, she wasn’t sure where she fit anymore. I got to thinking about it after we got off the phone. She spent a lifetime building a family, hoping, directing, praying and duct taping things back together. Her goal was to get us to adulthood successfully, and then reap the rewards of grandchildren and big family holidays around her kitchen table. She spent 30 years building that empire, just to have a wrecking ball put through the walls of her life. Pieces scattered in the wind as she tried to capture them through the storm. As the wind ripped through the walls and sent her world in opposite directions. She couldn’t catch-all of the pieces, and as the rebuild began, it was clear, the building would never be the same.

Standing on the outside and watching the demolition of her empire was similar to watching the tornadoes in Oklahoma, or the falling of the Twin Towers, you watched in horror, hiding the ones you loved behind you, secretly glad it wasn’t you, but knowing through and through it could have been. It can and does, happen to every and anyone. No relationship is safe, no human love is indestructible. Anything man-made, can be knocked down. It can all collapse. And just like the tornadoes of Oklahoma, after a week, no one else cares, the news stories have moved on and there you sit. Thankful to be alive, feeling guilty for wishing you weren’t. Wondering what to do next.

Birthdays come around again. Like cane stripes across your back, they slash through and show you’ve made it. A reminder. A celebration. A haunting. A blessing.

I look around to see who still stands beside me, is there anyone? The faces have changed. Even the ones that remain from days gone by, their faces have changed.