Andrea Howe

Andrea Howe

It was just yesterday, I’m sure, when I partook of my “last supper,” an hour before I headed off to a North Gibson school board meeting on Grandma’s Birthday — known to everyone else as St. Patrick’s Day.

It was my “last supper” eating for two — Dick Clark’s barbecue, mashed potatoes with white gravy, dill pickles and a big vanilla milkshake.

Nothing wrong with a little pork and potatoes and gravy with my ice cream and pickles, I reasoned.

All that sat on my stomach pretty heavily while I squirmed in a metal folding chair in the school television studio, sitting sideways, propping swollen feet up on another empty chair — and threatening to go into labor, live on WO6BD TV, if the meeting went any longer...

I didn’t go into labor then. I wrote the school board story for the March 18, 1998 edition of The Daily Clarion by the 11:30 p.m. deadline.

I woke the next morning, painted my nails, and had my appointment at Gibson General Hospital.

A few hours later, I learned the nail polish was for naught. Off came the red lacquer, and on came a hospital gown, a blue surgery “shower cap” and my life took a dramatic turn.

Nothing has been the same since I became a parent.

It’s been more than 6,570 days of marveling over one thing or another.

Of course, I’m a doting mom — who can turn on a dime into a ranting tyrant if it’s required.

Things other people do or say are much more important to me than they ever were outside my son’s presence.

I spend a lot of time trying to impress upon him that people have the right to express themselves, but that right is also a huge responsibility.

And, I remind him, in our house, the constitution doesn’t apply.

His parents rule in a benevolent dictatorship.

Last week, the day before his 18th birthday, he gave me one of his “stormy” looks that he inherited from me, and told me he didn’t like what I was telling him.

I reminded him that it’s my job to say some things to him even if he doesn’t like to hear them, because I need to be a good parent.

“I wish you wouldn’t try to be so good at your job,” he growled.

A few hours later, he was sitting with me at a Christian apologetics class. After the presentation, he made the remark, “This is off the topic, but —”

—And I cut him off, with the pointedly parental command, “—Then don’t say it!”

He ignored me and spoke anyway.

While his remark was off the immediate topic, it was entirely appropriate and pretty profound.

Being the doting mom slowly arriving to the table of reality, I realized: It’s real, now.

He’s more than my parenting project, he’s God’s personal project.

And God has infinite patience for works in progress.

Works in progress, like me.

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