Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I see the man in you.

On a rare occasion out shopping all alone near the end of a particularly challenging day with our boy, I happened across three different men who stopped me dead in my tracks. It wasn't because they were doing anything abnormal, it was just that they provided me a visual image that made me think of what Flint would one day become. Two were shopping with young kids sitting in the front of their carts, the other by himself. I pictured Flint as a dad, pushing his little one around Sprouts, buying his veggies, making his white mama proud. I imagined him just getting off work and stopping in for a few groceries on his way home. I could envision the adult he will soon be - that he will not forever and always be the child he is now. 

At night is when it hits me most. When the kids are tucked in their beds and every last drink of water has been sipped and there is no more running to the bathroom or giggling in the dark and the house grows quiet. That's when I reflect on the day. Sometimes I grieve. I grieve for my failures and my shortcomings and my insufficient stamina and my inability to understand and successfully execute precisely what they require. 

There have been nights that I would have found myself willing to relinquish Flint to another family if I was certain they were better equipped to handle his particular set of needs. There are nights I have felt that nearly anyone was better equipped than myself to handle his particular set of needs. There have been nights that I have been convinced we were mismatched, not a good fit, he and I, that I would not ever be able to give him what he must have to grow and develop and thrive.

It's my saint of a husband that often reminds me during these evening moments that things will change. He will grow and he will learn and this will not be our reality forever. I can't see him being this way when he is 30. Just do the best you can, he is learning, he is. He's picking up little bits of what you are trying to teach him. Through tears or anger, through the draining fog of fatigue, I ask, "why do the bits have to be so small?"

Then a new day dawns, fresh with cleansing sunlight and bountiful mercy and I try again. Working at it, always working. Working until. Digging deep. Working to get through to his mind, to reach his heart, to gain his trust, to earn his affection. Working to minister and to serve and to remind with generosity and to summon patience and to nurture. Working to learn to lay aside myself, to love unwaveringly, ceaselessly, robustly. Commitment carries me through. Again and again, hope renews.

And in my mind's eye I sometimes remember the men at Sprouts and I envision the boy becoming a man and I hear the words of my husband resounding in my ears and I know without a doubt, this is worth it. Somehow, these men I don't even know that I will likely never see again, help me keep perspective. Every ounce of exertion and strain and toil we face is worth it. 

Because more than anything else at the end of his childhood days, I want a happy, healthy relationship with that grown man. I want him to come home to his mama and bring that baby over to visit and I want him to have dinner and call me on the phone and I want him to reach down to give me a hug and I want to be his mommy. I yearn for it. I will extend the effort to let go what needs loosening and to hold onto what needs gripped and to offer what I have to share and to take what he has to give and to never give up.

I will invest in him. I will invest in us. I can see a glimmer of the man in the boy. 

And I draw comfort knowing that even when he's all grown up, that precious child will be my son - forever and always. 

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