My Son, How Far We Have Come…

by | Oct 29, 2008 | Joel, Parenting/Family, The Love | 15 comments

I can’t remember if I have written about how difficult it was mothering my son, my first when he was a baby/toddler/preschooler…

My Son, How Far We Have Come…

I want to share this because this is a story I would have wanted to hear 7 years ago. I write this because today, I see the light in the middle of the tunnel. My son is 9, not 19 – so we are still in the middle. But… there is light, and for this I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.

First off, before I had children I was the ideal parent.

I had no idea. I had no idea. I had no idea.


One morning I found myself wrestling on the floor of a toy store with my son. I was 10 months pregnant with child #2. Suffice it to say that between my son’s behavior and my 10-month-pregnant girth – there was not a soul in a 3 mile radius that missed THAT scene. I worked very hard to retain even just ONE ounce of dignity while trying to keep him from kicking me, hitting me, biting me…

Have you ever seen a sumo wrestler go toe-to-toe with a vaselined-up octopus with fangs? Had you been there, you’d have had good idea of what something like that might look like.

But then… once all of the 2.5-year-old limbs were restrained by The Oppressively Pregnant Mother… Joel began to spit at me.

There was not one thing I could do about the spitting. The opening with which a child uses to breathe is something that should not be obstructed. My brain stopped recording…  I do not remember how we made it out of that store. No memory. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anyone?

Through the act of parenting I have learned that taking those classes not only made me idealistic in my views, but stupid in real life when it came to understanding the fruit of my loins.

Ain’t nothin’ like a dose of the strong will of a totally separate little human with his/her own preferences, feelings and ideas to knock a college graduate’s diploma right of her wall.

Suffice it to say, my son and I have traveled a long road over the last 9 years.

As a baby I starved him. Kinda. I underproduced in the breast mil department. But being a new, insecure mom… I thought newborns always ate always, all the time, ceaselessly, never stopping, and kept not stopping. Apparently, all that not-stopping with the nursing didn’t mean he liked to eat… it meant he was not getting enough milk.

We had a hard start… and then sleep issues took hold. Like… not sleeping through the night until he was over 18 months old.

I don’t know about you, but I am not a huge fan of not sleeping through the night for nearly 2 years.

On top of that, he was a boy — a curious, energetic boy who started walking at 9 months. And he had a very big head which makes the concept of “balance” highly complicated… especially for an early walker.

He was passionate. He was determined. He was unbending in his determination and passion. He was particular and the seams of his socks drove him bat-shit crazy. Really. It was THAT BAD. No. Worse.

When he was just over 1 year old I sought out a local MOPS group – just so I could find moms who had boys.

The little girls that were Joel’s age were soft and sweet and sat to color. My son possessed sweetness, but he never stopped moving! He broke crayons and tore paper while NOT SITTING EVER. When we spent time with girls I looked like I was raising a savage.

So, maybe it has always been about me?

He bit a kid’s face once. Only once, though. Praise be. But it was an awful experience — for me, for him, for the bit-kid and *ahem* the kids’ mother.

He would hit and grab and push. He wasn’t a bully, and he tended to be the smallest in his brood, but he could tear it up. At times he was so emotionally and physically intense I found myself worrying that he would grow to be an aggressive and defiant teen that I’d have to lock my bedroom door at night. I really, truly did.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep. I do know that I was convinced I probably ruined him because I was soooo not prepared to raise such a busy, physical kid. I worried I destroyed him with impatience, yelling, unfair consequences and ignorance on how to best handle this “clean slate”.

Then on Sunday I received this email from a friend,

Thought you might want to eavesdrop on a conversation I had with my daughter on the way to church this morning:

“I wish all the kids I babysit were as nice as Joel.”

“What’s so nice about Joel?”

“Are you kidding? Joel’s great! He is super helpful and obedient, and really helps get the other kids to do the right thing. He’s the best kid I ever met.”

“Wow. That’s pretty high praise.”

“Well, it’s true. I honestly can’t say enough good about him. He’s the kind of kid that makes all the other kids look like savages.”

Lately I have been given similar stories of praise about my boy. I wish I could say it’s because of my stellar parenting or my ingenuity in raising a sensitive young man.

I feel I have failed him more than come through. However, God made children so innocent and innately forgiving… so generous in love and so hungry they never quit reaching for our hearts. The very nature of young children – which drives us to the edge is also what bring us all together. Their passion. Their drive. Their need.

Looking back on those difficult times I see a little boy who felt everything deeply. He is a compassionate kid. When he was little he could not express the depths of his emotion… his feelings. Now that he has the tools to communicate more effectively he can express his anger, frustration, overwhelm, love and adoration in a much more constructive way. I had the same boy then that I have now, but he has matured and learned and kept on pushing despite my efforts to snuff his flame… because I didn’t recognize what was developing. I am thankful that he has such a spirit of perseverance. I could not say that 6 years ago.

I must add… all is not perfect. His passion is rough and young. He struggles with anger and control. But now I see it is all part of his journey… as a human, and as a young boy. He has a lot of maturing and growing and learning to do. As does his mother.

I am just so thankful to be able to look back and see how far we’ve come… I am excited as I look to the future with him. I love his heart, which has been the same since his start. He has a heart of gold…


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