I'm reading Anna Whiston-Donaldson's "Rare Bird" book. It speaks of losing a child, Faith, healing, Redemption, parenting. It's her memoir. And she amazes me. Has since I read the lines: "I'm your worst nightmare...or at least I know I’m living it right now."
I'm having to read it in chunks. Remind myself this is not one of my no brainer easy reads. This book is feeding my calling towards God, finding my way to a church that fits with our family. One J can grow to love God, if I'm lucky somewhere close to how Anna's Jack did. I won't lie, there is fear there. Fear that if my wish comes true, God may have plans for J that I'm not sure I would survive. Having faith - trusting in God.
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
Today I was reading during my lunch, and I was struck by words I've heard before, or seen in general context - maybe even from Anna's blog.
"To loving well the child you are given, not the child you thought you would have."
It never struck me as it did today. I don't know if it is the soul searching I'm feeling or the trusting in God I feel so compelled to do lately, but wow.
Love the child you are given.
Such powerful words when you really think about it. Putting into words what I've been learning over the past 6 years. (That first 1/2 of year was so easy)
I'm not sure what expectations I had for J before he was born. I so desperately wanted to be pregnant. Then I wanted to keep the pregnancy, loving that child I didn't even know yet. Then I just wanted to survive my c-section. I will never forget praying to God, while on the table waiting for Matt to join me so they could start, "Please just get me and the baby through this procedure and I will never ask for another child."
J was such an easy baby. In fact, I would have touted he was just about perfect. I mean, how many mom's of boys can count on 1 hand the number of times they were nailed. (Any boy mom knows what I mean) He played while I worked from home. He napped like a champ. He was awesome.
Then somewhere around 18 months - he developed his own personality. Terrible 2's. Horrible 3's. And at times, we had WT-Farfignughen 4s. 5's seemed to be better, but 6s... Wow - there have been some doozies.
Learning to parent him through these stages has been probably one of the most challenging things for me. Finding the balance between reassuring him I loved him, even in moments of wanting to give up. He doesn't like to be told "no". And if that goodness knows what - summertime music truck doesn't stop soon - I just may shoot out its tires... I know saying "no" will result in a fight. Tears. Frustration. Yelling. Possibly daddy (either in person, or my picking up the phone) stepping in to back me up.
I still say "no". Love & Logic had a post one day that said "I love you enough to say no". Every time I say no, which is not every time, but probably more often than I say yes - I remind myself this is okay. Part of my loving the child I'm given, is loving him through these moments. Loving him through his need to be destructive, and talking him down off the edge. There are times I'm great at it. Other's well... Let's just say I've also patched a hole or two in my wall. J has had the opportunity to help with said patchwork, so he realizes the real consequence. I may have possibly left the hole for a while, as well, to serve as a reminder to him the damage his anger can cause.
In this process, I'm trusting in God that I'm loving this wonderful child I'm given. The one who feels so sorry, and is learning to stop before he starts - or at least reign it in. The one who can look on the bright side and change the topic to share a funny story with me - even if he is still smarting and muttering - "I hate you. You are the meanest mom ever!" I'm trusting he is learning lessons that will serve him in the world.
I love him. I'm not a perfect mom. Thanks be to God, I have him, and can love him with all my heart. I hope I always remember to love him for him - not for who I want him to be. He is my little Bud, but he's not necessarily a mini-me.