( severely bow legged and pigeon toed it was a sight to see!) He ran like Forest Gump straight out of Stride Rite and down the aisles of the mall. Thank God my mother in law was with me and took off after him because he was headed for the railing to ” look over” and see what he could see. Grandma caught him just in time, I paid for the shoes and so go my adventures with Adam. I liken my parenting experience with him to struggling with a big lively Marmaduke dog on a leash and wondering who is actually walking who here??? Raising a strong willed child can be frustrating and exhausting and most definitely humbling. But if you can find your lane, that little pocket of grace, however small or narrow, it can be rewarding as well.
Ok so you know you’ve seen us out at Target. That is usually where I encountered onlookers and their comments like, “Hang in there Mom!” or a sing-songy ” looks like someone is ready for a nap!” and the ever popular, ” Wow, you sure have your hands full!” These comments always strike me as funny because I am thinking, ” I’m doing pretty good considering the screaming monster I have held hostage in my little red cart here, and you have NOOOOO idea how much worse this could get.” Or if you come to my front door you may see my son acting like a circus performer in the background while I try to ignore him and focus futilely on what you are saying. Over the years there have been many well intending friends and advice lenders who try to help by saying things like, “You need to spank him more.” or, ” wash his mouth out with soap!” ” Maybe he has ADHD, you know Michael Phelps has ADHD and his mom just threw him in the water one day and now look! You should get him into swimming!” Maybe I should, then I too could have a very strong willed Olympian. 😉
There have been days where my nerves are just raw and shot. From the whole experience of Raising Adam. No one likes to feel as if they are doing their job poorly and in front of an audience. I often flop in my big white chair in the corner of my room and weep. Crying because I feel as if I did not sow this. I don’t think I deserve this, this crazy person who laughs when I spank him, who spit bubbles from the soap the time I regrettably put it on his tongue, and according to the doctors and teachers, DOES NOT HAVE ADHD!!! I almost wish he did and then I would have an excuse. I scream in desperation. “God, “I did not sow this!!!!” Like a garden I guess, you sow seeds for a beautiful flower and then you see weeds and think, “Where did that come from?” I can get mad and frustrated but at the end of the day this is my garden and I must find the best way to make it beautiful. Someone else’s garden may look different or be easier, better soil, more shade etc, but this is my little lot to till. So I am faced with blocking out the nay sayers and getting to work. Trial by error without reinventing the wheel and of course total neglect and abandonment of my garden is not an option. I wonder how God felt when placing his Adam in the garden of Eden. Of course He is all knowing but was he disappointed at the fall? Did he say, ” Hey, that is not what I planned. That is not what I sowed. Where did that come from?” I do know this, God loves us and came up with a plan. That plan included grace and forgiveness and unconditional love. Over the years I have exhausted myself trying to discipline the strong will out of my son but as of late I have taken a different approach. One of love, compassion, understanding and grace. I know that God has made him intense and passionate on purpose and it is my job to hone those qualities and guide and help him, not squelch him because I don’t like it. Perhaps I could get in his world and even see things the way he may be seeing them so that I can help him and understand him. This past year Adam and I have deepened our relationship and I have listened more and yelled less, I have given grace instead of harsh punishment and we have laughed and played more than butted heads. My husband fears I have gone soft and I suppose the proof will be in the pudding. But this way of relating to my son feels right, bares fruit, and pleased God. Adam know he has an advocate and a ear and he is less frustrated and angry because of it. Make no mistake about it, I have my eyes on a prize up ahead. A kind hearted healthy family who loves God, each other, and their neighbor. My road may look different than yours, may be harder, definitely messier!! But I will get there. I may acquire more gray hair and wrinkles but I will wear them proudly as stripes. Like a soldier who has done their job honorably. So until then, I will commiserate with you through my blog and if you see me at target, Perhaps we should salute each other and with a wink send a message of “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!”
I Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.