Do you see this little warrior? Not a day went by during his early years that I wasn't running the gamut of emotions. It's not that it was his fault--entirely... Well.. O.K. he was a pistol--as the picture indicates. But what is it about a difficult child that reveals our own insecurities?
I think some people look at our family, with it's poised, photo-shopped, photo-enhanced photos and think, "I'll never be there!" or whatever strange emotions are going on in their heads.
And I think, "Me too" I'll never be there. The best I can do is "roll with it".. and channel that energy into productivity. Perhaps I never really let on (to him at least) how often I almost killed him and/ or myself during those early years. O.K. not really. Cuz I'm not prone to violence. But I did, on more than one occasion, just want to give up!
But how do you give up on a child? When you see that angry, little person shaking their fist at you and ready to buck you at every turn.. how can you just give up on them? They aren't mad at you. They are mad at life. Maybe they are upset that they aren't an only child? Or maybe they are upset because they are the 3rd child.. instead of the first?
Maybe they just want Mommy all to themselves? Personalities are strong. Inclinations are stronger. But Jesus is more powerful than all of them.
And no one really knows how much of yourself you had to give up in order to be this child's mother. How much of our insecurities, pride, ambitions, reputation, legalistic expectations, and general comfort was laid at the cross for this one child. No we don't say it. We just say things like, "Hey, would you like some scrambled eggs for breakfast?" and act like it's another normal day.
Because that's what moms do. And you wonder how that child lived to be 3, let alone the student council president. No. Mary treasured these things in her heart, and her child was perfect.
And people ask you if you are emotional about this moment. And the only emotion you can conjure up is "relief" that we actually lived this long to see this child graduate from a completely homeschooled situation.
And your closest friends (for this moment in time) are the parents of these other 44 kids who did the exact same thing. And many others who didn't actually go through a ceremony, but have had the ups and downs none-the-less.
And we pose for that picture. The one we put up on Facebook and share with family and friends. And we hope that the nicey nicey thing we have going on in this little moment of time will warm their hearts and not alienate us further from them.
And even though their kids are this size-- they may see the future a little clearer now. There are no written instructions that come with these little people, although volumes have been written about it.
My small advice: don't give up on a child. Even if a child looks and acts like a weed, it isn't. It's a child; therefore, it is a flower. Feed it, nurture it, love it-- like a flower. Gardening isn't easy, but parenting is much harder. Grow your garden.