Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The End of the Year is Like a Used Tube of Toothpaste

I'm squeezing out as much as I can from these last two days of 2014 before the year is all used up.  The new tube is already in the bathroom drawer, waiting to be opened but it's not time yet.  I'm planning on attending $5 movie night with my family this evening to watch Unbroken.  It will be my last family movie night before becoming an empty nester.  It's strange to look at my life and know I'm on the last few pages of the parenting chapter.  It's like a good book that I don't want to put down.  I think to myself, what's the final lesson I want to teach my son before he leaves?  The answer is inside that tube of toothpaste you see pictured above.  Life is a tube of toothpaste.  Some discard it before it's used up because it's too hard to find what's left of the toothpaste.  Others forget to use it on a daily basis because they're too rushed to brush their teeth.  Or they forget they're out of toothpaste and don't replace it.  The New Year sneaks up on them and they're not ready for the next chapter.

Chris, my tennis team-mate from California, gave me a CD to listen to when I returned to pick up our Honda.  "This story reminded me of you.  I think you'll like it," he said, handing me a copy of Unbroken.  I listened to the story as I drove through Utah and Colorado.  What struck me most about the main character is his desire to keep going against all odds.  That's the same lesson the military leaders want to teach their new recruits.  "They want to break you," my son told me.  "Then, they can mold you into a new person."  Perhaps boot camp is designed to draw every last bit of toothpaste out of you before they hand over a new tube.  "I will be the last one they break," he said.  "I'm ready."

Maybe I'm the one who will be learning the lesson tonight.  My son says he's ready.  I believe he is.  The million dollar question is, "am I ready?"  I really don't have a choice.  I'm at the end of the tube of toothpaste.  It's time to let go. 

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