We traipsed into the house last Wednesday afternoon, the boys wet from a session of slalom kayaking on the river. Cam peeled off his shirt and I saw it.
One lone, dark, manly chest hair. His very first.
‘Dude!’ I said. ‘You have a chest hair!’
‘No way!’ he shouted, taking the stairs two at a time to tell his brother who had first dibs on a hot shower.
The next day I took him to Istanbul Barbers down the road. He’s been going to barbers since he was tiny – wearing the Donald Duck plastic cape and cashing in on proffered lollipops – but this was his first barbershop visit since he has for-real-oh-my-gosh started shaving his face.
I watched the barber work his Turkish blade magic while grinning all things Liverpool and Man United with an insanely thick accent and I could tell by Cam’s polite interjections he wasn’t understanding much of the convo.
The Turkish barber (who, turns out, is actually Egyptian) asked him, ‘Do you have any girlfriends?’ Cam heard, ‘Do you have any GOOD FRIENDS?’
So Cam said, ‘Yeah, two or three. I’m hoping to make a few more.’
Turkish-slash-Egyptian barber man whooped and laughed and said, ‘You good man! You very good man! I have just one!’
The ancient Greeks talked about how Chronos time was measured and counted, and Kairos time was lived and experienced.
This was a Kairos moment.
Because over the past few months, we’ve lived and experienced watching Cam make his first friends in a foreign country with zero intervention from us. (As in, there’s been no, ‘Come for tea! Bring your child who’s the same age as my child and let’s contrive a friendship!’ Which is good and necessary and, miraculously, works most of the time, but how marvellous to watch him choosing for himself, and so far, choosing well.)
We’ve lived and experienced him as interesting, and interested. We live and experience his smart sense of humour, his tenderness and affection, his sensitivity to the moods and stress levels and insecurities of those around him, his offers of help, and his unveiled honesty when everything’s not ok.
All these lived and experienced moments swelled into one as I thought about how, right now, he’s exactly the same height as me. (Ok ok not a massive achievement in my case but still.) He’s about to overtake me and it was in that Kairos-barbershop-moment I realised it fully:
I don’t know why I felt so proud and satisfied just then. I mean, it’s not my doing. My kids will grow tall – and grow chest hairs – with or without me. God grows things, not us. I’ve fed him for thirteen years, sure, but God stretches legs out long and morphs boys into men.
I guess the Kairos-barbershop-moment made me grateful God knows the number of hairs on my sons’ heads (even their chests), and He has them on journeys of their own, and there will be grace enough for the full 24 hours of all their tomorrows.
I’m grateful God works out His purposes in their lives despite our fears, flaws and failings, and despite how often we find ourselves making things up as we go along.
I’m grateful my boys started life inside my body, and grateful I get the daily hands-on gift of praying them into His body, the church, as they grow up, and grow into the men He’s destined them to be.
I’m grateful for the privilege and pleasure of having them under our roof for these short years, aware everyday they’re another day closer to exploring a very big world where I fervently hope they’ll live all the Chronos and Kairos times of their lives knowing God, and making Him known.
. . .
Have a fantastic weekend, friend!
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