For six months, back in 2005, my lovely wife Lisa and I were the proud parents of three teenagers. Count 'em. Three. At one time. On Oct. 3 of that year our oldest child turned 20. And then there were two, which is more than enough for anybody.
Teenagers. What was God thinking?
I mean, I realize that this whole thing is a circular process. Kids are born and move through the diaper stage into the terrible twos and threes and into school and eventually grow up and grow old and wind up back in diapers with their own children taking care of them. I get all that. But the teen years! What's up with that?
It was probably Mark Twain, who seems to have said everything that Yogi Berra didn't say - or it could have been Will Rogers, who seems to have said everything else, but somebody said, "I was amazed at how much my parents learned between the time I was a teenager and the time I was 21." That same sentiment holds true in reverse you know and I am amazed at how much my own children begin to resemble human beings as they move through puberty and toward adulthood. It can be a rather long trip and Lord don't you know the journey can wear a man out.
Do the math. If you have three children - as do I - and each remains a teenager for seven years - that's a total of 21 years worth of teenage-dom. What were we thinking?
Don't get me wrong. I love all of my kids. In fact, I wouldn't take a million dollars for any of them. Of course I wouldn't give you two cents for another one, either - but I love my children. But still. 21 years of teenage angst could try the patience of Job - which is probably why he was blessed with 20 children - 14 sons and six daughters. Trust me. I ain't Job.
If you have or have had teenaged children you know what I mean. If you don't or haven't, it can't be explained, only endured. I am pretty good with words but not good enough to explain, in this brief space, the joys and travails of helping your offspring navigate those treacherous waters between the age of 12, when parents are just getting over knowing everything - to 16, when parents know absolutely nothing - to 20, when parents begin to get a little smarter. Let me put it this way. It's more thrilling than an E-ticket ride at Disney World, more fun than a barrel of monkeys, scarier than any movie Hollywood ever made and more rewarding than being the sole beneficiary of a Barack Obama stimulus package.
I could throw in a few more clichés, but I am sure you get the picture. I love being the parents of teenagers and I hate being the parents of teenagers. It makes me happy and it makes me sad and it makes me very, very afraid. It causes me to laugh, it makes me cry, and elicits every emotion and stimulates every emotional outlet from tears to laughter and whatever is in between - and you will never convince me that it is a coincidence that the teen years are of the same duration as the Tribulation.
Now believe it or not, I told you all of that to tell you this. We are down to one teenager at our house. Jackson Lee Huckaby turns 20 today. Where in the world does time go?
Jackson was born at Rockdale Hospital on March 15, 1989. In some ways it seems like an eternity and in other ways like the twinkling of an eye. We got a bull named Curly the same day we got Jackson - and about a month later we got a cat named Short-life. The bull became hamburger long ago but the cat and Jackson are still around.
I still remember when Jackson was born. I had lots and lots of plans for him. He would be an All-American basketball player and play centerfield for the New York Yankees and quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs at the same time, while preparing to cure cancer, become a general in the Armed Forces and being elected President of the United States and bringing about world peace.
Little did I know that the little blue bundle we brought home from the hospital two decades ago would grow to be about 6 feet 5 inches," depending on when he last had a haircut, and have one of the kindest hearts and most gentle spirits God ever placed in a human being. It had to come from God; the Lord knows neither me or his mama compare. And although I joke around about teen angst and the stress involved with dealing with teenagers, I can honestly say that I have caused Jackson a lot more trouble and embarrassment than he has caused me. He is one of the finest men I know, and I couldn't be more proud.
And he's a math major. Can you believe that? If you ever need anything counted, Jackson's your guy. He is taking four math classes this semester and four next. I don't think we even had seven different math classes when I was at Georgia.
So happy birthday, son. And now we are down to one teenager at home. Just one. But that one is Jenna.
I covet your prayers.