Better Than I Imagined

I actually wrote this piece several years ago.  Today my son turns 20.  Twenty.  No longer a baby, no longer a boy scout, a dancer, or a teenager.  He is really and truly a man, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

So take heart, my mama friends who struggle with kids who learn differently, kids who stretch you, who baffle you, who make you doubt your ability to do this momming gig.  Our Father’s got them.   And in His time, they will turn out to be far more than you dare to imagine…

Better Than I Imagined

My finger was bleeding.  As I watched the crimson bead form on my fingertip I wished, not for the first time, that I was more skilled with a sewing needle.  I reflexively put the injured digit in my mouth and looked down at the size 10 men’s ballet slipper resting in my lap.  I had to get the elastics on before my son’s next lesson.  Resuming my work, I smiled as I thought of all that had led to this rather surreal moment.  My son, the ballerina? 

I remembered when he was an infant and I would hold him in my arms, gazing into his tiny perfect face.  I had grand plans for this son of mine. I would take him out in the woods and teach him to hunt, shoot and whittle.  He would be athletic as well as studious.  In short, he would be everything I dreamed of in a son.

Aren’t God’s designs so much better than our own?

I thought back to his toddler years, showing empathy at an age the ‘experts’ declared was not normal.  I recalled the frustrating early days of homeschooling him when nothing would stick and the way he would happily keep trying.  I remembered how night after night, our tender-hearted boy would remind us to pray for an injured Sunday School teacher.

The memories continued to run like a slideshow in my brain.

Watching him run down the soccer field more intent on shouting encouragement to his teammates than on the kicking the ball.  Me, crying, when we got a diagnosis of learning disability and realizing that my son will struggle for the rest of his life.  Walking the neighborhood while he knocked on doors to raise money for his Boy Scout troop and having more than one person chase me down the street just to tell me what a fine young man I had there.

As those vignettes and so many more flooded my mind I felt profoundly thankful for this child of mine.  My son can’t spell to save his life and reading can be laborious for him, but he has so many offsetting gifts.  His strategy and problem solving skills are amazing.  He is intelligent, gentle, loving, and funny.  His warmth draws people in and makes them feel special.  His optimism even in the face of difficulty inspires me.

All in all, he is the most perfect gift the Lord could have given me in a son.  And he is not at all what I imagined he’d be.  My imaginings were so very small and superficial.  Isn’t it humbling how good and how big our God is?

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

If you had asked me all those years ago how I would feel if my son wanted to be a ballerina, I’d have looked at you like you had two heads.  But now, when he came to me and asked to dance because, “I want to get buff for my future wife, Mom!”  Well, let’s just say it was a no brainer.

“Are you done yet, Mom?” a deep voice spoke from the doorway.  I looked up at my growing boy and held out the shoes.  “All done,” I said as he leaned down and kissed me.  As he left the room to get ready for his dance class, I couldn’t help but chuckle.

My son, the ballerina.  Yeah.  I’m cool with that!


Your turn: Do you have a child who is not who you imagined they would be?  Do you resist changing your thought processes, or are you embracing their uniqueness?  Tell us about it in the comments!

*Just an FYI:  the proper term for a male ballet dancer would be ballerino or danseur.

Photo credit: featured image by AntonioDiaz at bigstockphoto.


The Very Best Way To Understand Grace

My last nerve was exposed and raw, just waiting for a spark that would ignite it like the fuse on a stick of dynamite. When my daughter entered the room in tears, the match was lit.

We’ve been in the middle of rehearsals for a theatrical production and the choreography wasn’t turning out as she’d hoped. The grand visions in her head simply weren’t panning out in the sphere of reality and as a result, she felt stuck and unable to continue.

This sweet, smart, sensitive daughter of mine is my polar opposite in many ways. Most notably, she is emotionally expressive, while I am not. My daughter and I have a major disconnect in this area, and as I said, on this particular day I was already operating with the last nerve ready to be tweaked.

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How To Stop Arguing With Your Kids

Dear Groovy Mama,
My eight year old son is challenging me on everything. When my husband and I give him the answer – he picks a fight with us. He won’t back off. I’m going crazy and I hate to say this, but I find myself arguing with him. Silly me. I’m arguing with a kid. I’m not winning either. –L.M.

Dear L.M.,
I have a ‘negotiator’ for a son. When he was young, he would try to circumvent everything I told him in an attempt to control the situation. At a certain point, I realized I was arguing with him far too often. And you are absolutely right, no one can win when arguing with young, egocentric humans. It simply leaves you feeling crazy, frustrated, and defeated. But there is good news, my friend! My husband and I found victory over this behavior, and you can too.

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The One Parenting Philosophy Every Mom Should Adopt

At the risk of destroying all ‘good mama’ cred I may possess, I have to make a confession here. Being a mother did not come naturally to me. Feeling only a profound weariness at the birth of my firstborn, the first thing I wanted to do afterwards was eat. I was famished. The only tears I almost shed that day were for the hospital enchiladas they brought me. Never had institutional food tasted so good. Only after I had enjoyed my feast did I wonder where they’d taken my baby.

That stings to admit.

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Encouraging Your Introverted Teen

Dear Groovy Mama,
I know my teen is an introvert. How do I push him to engage in activities with others without pushing him too far out of his comfort zone? (Amy)

Dear Amy,

This is an excellent question, one I happen to have intimate experience with. Out of the six people in my family, four of us are seriously introverted. A couple of us also deal with social anxiety. More about that in a moment.

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The Happiest Place on Earth?

Glancing at the woman to my left, I smiled. Her arms were full of warm, rumpled toddlers, two little girls who were obviously exhausted from a long day at the Magic Kingdom. The tiny princess closest to me clutched her glowing star-wand and shifted to get comfortable. The bus gently swayed, rocking the girls into a fitful rest on the journey to our resort.

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Help For Hectic Schedules

Dear Groovy Mama,
We have a crazy sports schedule right now. I don’t handle it well. It feels so selfish on my part because I know the sports are good for my boys. I just get to the point where I feel like I’m always on the go and we aren’t connecting as a family. There are evenings that the first conversation my husband and I get are when we lay down to go to bed. Not ok. Do you have any ideas for me? –Tanya C.

Dear Tanya,

Sweet friend, life can certainly be busy. Staying connected and making time for family can be a challenge. In order to stay on top of it all, we need to have a game plan.

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