With the attic fan on, I can no longer hear the heavy metal music over the Xbox as they battle zombies, insurgents, and Sith.  They may be back in the dining room rolling dice, warring against trolls and looking for treasure. 

I’ll find out the next time that I’m down that way to refill my coffee cup.  I know more or less what they’re up to and I can always put a bug in someone’s ear when they need a reminder. I try for a happy medium; I don’t micromanage but, except for an occasional run to fetch another teen or more food, I’m here and they know it.

I realized this today when I looked up to find one of them lurking just outside my office door. One word from me and he had taken a seat in the other desk chair, settling in for a lengthy chat. He even offered his services, as well as those of the other boys, to help me clean out a bit so that they’d have a bit more room in here.

I may not have had my office in mind, but that’s what I try to give them — room to be themselves in a world that is busy trying to shape them even as they grow and change into men.

When I hold them up in prayer, I first thank God for bringing this particular horde into my son’s life and into my home. They eat enough for a small village, but it is a blessing to have them here.

I pray that they have the courage and the strength to find themselves amidst the clamor of other people telling them who to be and, all too often, who not to be. I shy away from fix-it prayers (Lord, make him see . . . make him do . . .). How can I fix them when I don’t know what God has in mind for each of them?  Instead, I pray that they be comfortable enough in their own skins to be themselves and to let other people do the same.

Then I give them the space to move and yell and eat and even settle down in my office for a chat. That said, I should probably do a bit more picking up in here so that there’s space for more than one of them at a time. After all, someone did put a bug in my ear.