Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Best Part of Me

It's a Sunday morning and I got up at the crack of dawn so that I could take Jace over to the community center by 5:30 a.m. He is headed to Wisconsin for a great big Pathfinder event that will host 46,000 people.

My word.

He was so excited that he woke me up before my alarm at 4:55 this morning. Mom! It's time to get up! And so I did, bleary-eyed and begging the clock to please be wrong as I normally sleep til 7:00 on Sundays. But of course...the clock wasn't wrong and so I dragged myself out of bed and down to the kitchen to pack Jace's lunch and cook him a pancake as that's the sending-off breakfast that we'd decided on the night before.

Hey, Mom? I'm going back to bed. Just let me know when it's ready.

Thanks, Jace.

When we arrived at the community center, he said, "Bye, Mom," and reached up to the front seat from the backseat to give me an awkward hug that he really hoped I'd be satisfied with so that he wouldn't be embarrassed by hugging me good-bye in the parking lot. Someone might see! And if someone saw him hug me? Well. He might die.

Now don't get me wrong. When we're home and nobody else is around to witness it, Jace loves for me to hug on him. He often crawls on my lap and sits until I can't take it anymore, pushing him off. He always complains: Let me sit on your lap!

And so I can handle his outward show of Watch me walk away from my mom because I really don't need her.

He absolutely doesn't need me...until he's hungry...or sick...or sad...or he has a story to tell...or...

As soon as we exited the car, Jace asked Shane which van he was riding in. She gave him a choice of two, letting him know who was riding in what. He looked at me and nodded in the direction of the van that suited his fancy and darted off to get the best seat in the house. The last I saw of Jace he was sitting by two of his buddies giggling away.

He's going to have a great time.

I have never attended a pathfinder camporee...and I seriously doubt that I ever will. Pathfinders weren't part of my life growing up but all of my kids have been actively involved. It's one of my girls' favorite childhood memories: weekly meetings, camping trips, honors, Bible Bowls, and, of course, the camporee that rolls around once every four years. Savana only managed to go in 2004 when she was 11 years old. It was freezing cold that year and so that is her main memory from the experience: shivering and huddling in the tent. But Darian attended when we lived in Missouri in 2008 and she came home raving about what a fabulous time she had.

I imagine Jace will do the same. But the difference will be, I probably won't learn much about it. I will only know, most likely, what I hear from the leaders. When it comes to words, Jace doesn't exactly share his sisters' prowess. The girls love nothing more than talking endlessly to me--sharing their every thought and conversation and experience in avid detail.


Not so much.

I suppose it's a boy thing as I've heard from other mothers of boys that their sons don't mince words. And when I really try to question Jace and needle information out of him, my questions are met with heavy sighs and minimal answers to appease me 98 percent of the time.

But then that two percent rolls around: that heavenly, blissful two percent.That two percent when he gives me a little glimpse of his heart; when he shares what really goes on in that head of his in quiet moments.And that two percent always leaves me bursting with pride. Jace is still rough around the edges. He definitely has a lot of growing up to do. But he's getting there. He's thinking and he has a kind heart and a sensitive spirit. He is grappling with deeper concepts and trying to find his place in the world. I am confident that, in the end, he'll be a good guy, a guy that will have integrity and depth.

This parenting business is a whole lot of crazy. It isn't an experience that one can put into words. I remember when Savana was born and I gazed into that sleeping, precious face and I, filled with so much love I thought I might burst, quietly promised I will never do anything to hurt you. I will always always have your back.

And then she was two years old and running around like a crazy machine, embarrassing me as she tore down displays in the grocery store and screaming endlessly and terrorizing my life. But at nights I would rock her as she sucked contentedly on that pacifier and I would gaze into that precious little face and love would ooze out of me for this precious little bundle that exasperated me and left me emotionally exhausted as what does one do with a screaming, flailing toddler?

And then my sweet sweet Darian came along who slept 23 out of 24 hours until she was about 4 months old. She quietly went about her little life in her easy-going way...until she turned 3.

And then I thought I might kill her.

Darian's 3 year old fits would give any child a run for their money. She screamed and kicked and flailed, leaving me exasperated and searching the books for an answer.

But then she would put those chubby little arms around her neck and nestle in and I was positive that nobody loved their child more than I loved mine.

As time went by, I realized that my promise of I will never ever hurt you was premature. I've hurt my kids as I am human and sometimes life happens. Sometimes I say unkind things or act in ways that aren't becoming. Sometimes I blow it at their expense.

Joy and I ride together to work most every day. And not too long ago, we were talking about how last fall she drove down to Texas with her two kids to drop off her son for college. And then she and her daughter headed up to Nebraska where she dropped her off for school. And then? She drove home. Alone. Just her and her books on tape. I asked her Was that the longest drive of your life--Texas then Nebraska then North Carolina??

Without hesitation she said, I loved it. I really like my kids. They are my favorite people in the world.

I totally get that. Our kids exasperate and frustrate and annihilate us. They cost us sleep and peace and quiet. They make us cry with worry. But in the end, we moms are their best cheerleaders. They offer us hope. They make us proud. They bring us joy.

My kids?

They are the best part of me.

1 comment:

  1. I adore my kids, and it is obvious you adore yours. What's not to adore, right? They are all awesome! They make us think, they keep us laughing, and as they grow, they become more than our offspring; they become our friends.


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