Two times a day, and sometimes after meals.

My son is home from college, maybe for a while, as he’s trying to figure out what to do next. He’s a good guy, so that’s cool.

I am a nurturer. I feed, clean, shop, etc. A kid will let you do that for them until you stop. Can you see where I’m going with this?

Like I said, my son’s a good kid – he’s got a job, is doing his own laundry, and helps with yard work and such. But still, I’m right there busily doing my nurture thing.

But that last few months I’ve been doing something that is completely contrary to my knee jerk nurturing reaction. I’m not buying toothpaste.

I noticed a few months ago my son (who uses the downstairs bathroom) was low on toothpaste. I walked over to the grocery list and was about to write it down when I stopped. No, I said to myself, wait and see what happens.

A few weeks went by, and he didn’t mention needing toothpaste, but I did notice a little sample tube, like the kind they give you at the dentist, on the counter. Okay, that works.

More weeks went by. The tube was empty again. I watched to see if he would tell me we were out, or if he would go buy it himself, or would he just give up and stop brushing his teeth. I doubted the last one, but was curious. Then, another small tube appears. Aha! He is taking care of his own needs! I would happily buy a tube if he put it on the grocery list (a valid option) but I am also happy for him to solve the problem himself.

I know this is a small thing. But as a nurturing mommy-type, I can over do anticipating what my family needs – they rarely have the opportunity to solve their own problems, or even feel their need for it. Kids often don’t have to ask for what they need, it just magically appears. Poof! There is toothpaste! Poof! There is soap! Poof! There is toilet paper! Poof! You’re an adult, now what?

I want my son to continue to mature, even while living at home. I want him to ask for what he needs, or go get it himself. Basically, I want him to recognize his needs, even in small things. And he did.

And it hits me, that’s what prayer is. God is using toothpaste to show me what prayer is.

Why do we have to ask God for things when he already knows what we need? What kind of crazy ego does God have to make us ask him for stuff? What are we, beggars?

Or…what kind of loving Father is he?

Prayer is recognizing my needs in the context of my relationship to God. It is a mysterious mix of help, growth, and comfort. It is family living.

I can dig it.


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