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.

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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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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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Do Your Kids Know?

“Can we hang out tomorrow, Mama?”  My 13 year old daughter asked.  I assured her that we would indeed make the time to do something together, glad she wanted to spend time with me.  We chattered a bit more when she said something that struck me like a hammer.

“You know, I love to go shopping or play cards or walk with you, but it means a lot more when you are the one who asks me.  It tells me that you actually like hanging out with me.”

Now, I pride myself on being the sort of mama who will set aside the to-do list whenever possible if the kids are needing some mommy time and that’s indeed a good thing.  However, I realized that I have fallen into the habit of allowing the kids to direct when those times happen.  I wait for them to tell me of their need for quality time rather than taking the reigns and suggesting it myself.  It honestly never occurred to me what message it would send if I were to occasionally ask them for some time.

Doh!

So now I must ask myself, do I actually want to spend time hanging out and chatting with my kiddos, or are they just another duty to check off my list?  The answer is easy.  I really, really like my kids.  I love spending time with them, seeing what ideas they come up with and watching the wheels turning in their amazing brains.  There’s no one on the planet I’d rather spend my hours with than these four precious people and their daddy.

The real question then becomes, do they know that?  Do they know that this mama is absolutely over-the-moon crazy about her chicks?  That I think they’re fun and interesting and worth spending time with?

They sure will now, because I want my actions to say loud and very, very clear: Mom thinks you are super groovy!

Grace and peace,

🌸Rebeca

 

Photo credit: Featured image by dolgachov at bigstockphoto.

Help for the Valentine-Challenged

Instead of the usual Friday Q&A, I want to take the opportunity to share a few sites to help you plan the upcoming holiday, and since I’m actually on vacation at the moment, loving on my own peeps, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

For your overly active little people, here’s a great article with some games to keep ’em moving…and hopefully to run off some of the inevitable Valentine’s Day sugar high!

Active Valentine’s Day Party Games

Here’s some ideas based on love languages.   These ideas would be great any time of year!

25 Valentine’s Gift Ideas Based on the 5 Love Languages

And here’s some fantastic ideas for family activities that incorporate faith and serving others with your holiday fun!

10 Ideas: Valentine’s Ideas for Your Family

Being Valentine-challenged, I loved these articles!  I hope you enjoy them too and that they spark some fun and creative ideas for you to use with your family this Valentine’s Day!

Grace and peace,

🌸Rebeca

 

Photo by Actina at Pixabay

 

Blessings and Duct Tape: How to Help Your Kids Get Along

If I hear you two argue one more time today I’m going to duct tape you together until you learn how to get along!”

The kids knew I was teasing…sort of. They also knew that when I uttered this lighthearted threat, I really was at the end of my emotional endurance with their bickering and arguing. Nothing frays my mama nerves quite like sibling conflict.

Last week’s Q&A was from a mama who is at her wit’s end with the kid battles, and while Cristina Grau and I answered from more of a heart training angle, I think it’s worth also looking at some positive ways to foster love between siblings.

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From Lord of the Flies to Supernova

The girl’s face was tomato red, round and glistening with sweat. Breath huffing like an enraged bull, she charged. Holding up our spears, carefully crafted fir branches sharpened to fine points, we held the line and drove her back into our makeshift prison. Righteous indignation welled up in our prisoner and burst forth in a scream of fury. Head thrown back, white fists clenched at her sides, she howled her impotent rage to the trees above. With widespread feet planted in the dirt, our spears gripped with firm determination, we looked on passively as our captive crumpled to the ground sobbing, her fighting spirit released to the sky, leaving her defeated.

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