Sunday, April 14, 2013

Which one of these things is not like the other?

One of the things that Ben really enjoys is sitting in his chair and being stuffed in it with all his stuffed animals. This was a lucky picture from my phone since the minute they are all on top of him, he usually just starts to push the animals off.  I really love the expression.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A special little rant...

Dear friends,

It's been awhile.  I gave my laptop a home in the basement and it's been good mostly.  Good because I'm not spending nearly as much time checking email or facebook or anything else.  It's given me some breathing room that I needed.  You see it used to be in the kitchen and it was just too easy to check something "real quick" while making breakfast and then get myself trapped, and off schedule and behind in every other part of my life.

The bad part is that now I have to intentionally get on the computer.  I have to make time instead of stealing it.  Not the easiest thing to do sometimes.  But occasionally, something so... amazing? happens that the time is made.  Like now.

Last Saturday we went to the park as a family.  David's parents and brothers were up for Easter and we were all enjoying the sunshine.  It was also Ben's first experience at the park and there were a gazillion kids, as we knew there would be.  But it was fun.  David and I were experiencing things through new eyes and were excited to introduce Ben to the joys of slides, which he cried on, and swings, which he loved, and walking on the grass, which he barely tolerated.  Being unsure how he would handle it, we were understandably very close at all times, especially when he was going up the stairs on the playground equipment, scared to death that he would trip and fall out the open sides.

There was another couple watching us.  They were younger, as most people with small children are.  They were friendly enough though.  After a little small talk the mother asked "Is he your first?"  We beamed proudly and answered in the affirmative.  She replied "No wonder you still act like he's special. After two or three you'll get over it."

Neither David nor myself knew how to respond to this.  We must have said something, or maybe just laughed a little awkwardly and then made our way away from her and her three children who apparently are not special anymore because she's gotten over it.

Perhaps it's weird but I felt a little wounded.  Like I had been weighed, measured and found wanting.  Like I obviously did not "get" what this parenthood thing was all about.  That I must not have enough experience with children because if I did I would realize that I didn't need to treat my kid like he's something special because after three they are all ordinary.  Same.  Nothing to be celebrated.

This experience reminded me of that of another friend.  One who also has an only child.  She was told that she wasn't a "real" mother since she only had the one.  Weighed, measured, and found wanting.  Like she hadn't carried her son for 9 months.  Like she didn't love him and worry about him and lose sleep over him the way a mother does.  Like if you don't have at least three or four munchkins running around creating havoc then you aren't a "real" mother because it's all about the battle scars and the more you have the more qualified you are.  What a load of crap.

I sat down with my mother-in-law and told her about this little one-liner experience.  She was a bit taken aback as well which made me feel better.  I wondered what the woman would have said if I had responded with something like: "I'm sorry that your children are no longer special, that must be difficult for them." or "I won't have to worry about two or three since I'm barren and it's a miracle we have this one." Toss a little awkwardness back.

In fairness to the mom at the park, she may have just been tired.  She may not have realized how her words would sound when she said them.  I know that she didn't know us and our situation.  She may have just seen an overprotective set of parents following their child around the park desperately wanting him to have a good time and not get hurt. 

In fairness to me, my child is special.  Every child is special. Each little spirit has something to give to this world.  That does not mean that my child is perfect or that he will get away with murder.  Because he doesn't and he won't.  I want to be able to enjoy every minute of his little life, but that's just unrealistic.  I love him with all my heart, but sometimes naptime can't come quickly enough.  I also believe that part of my job as a parent is raising a child with enough discipline that other people will like him too.  That is not an easy task either.  But even in the midst of a meltdown, my child is still special.  If the Lord sees fit to bless us with another little miracle, and rest assured a miracle it will be, then I plan on treating that new little spirit as special and welcome and joyful and delightful as my first.

So.  Moral of the rant?  Be careful what you say.  Be careful how you react.  And for goodness sake remember that your children are special.

Bringing in April with a bang,