Stunned by disbelief still that my first-born son has left this earth at the mere age of four, only four months ago. Four months feels like four years in ways, but only four minutes in other ways. I am getting more and more accustomed to having one energetic little boy with me instead of two. I am slowly, but yet abruptly adjusting to my new life.
One of the ways that I have adapted since the death of Joseph, is that my parenting to Josiah has somewhat shifted. The focus has shifted, not completely changed! I have always nurtured the connect with my boys, although they were different and their personality and behavior was, let’s just say, “atypical”. Joseph was a strong, energetic child that didn’t go-with-the-flow! He like to create the flow, then with his charm, lure every one into his flow. Josiah, is in many ways like Joseph, but not as verbal about it. One thing that both of my boys had/have is a sweet, loving, spirit and a strong connect to their Mama and Daddy regardless of their behavior.
I struggled, for years with all of the books (I’m not against books), timelines, and picture of what a good, Christian kid should look like. First-time obedience, sleep schedules, stopping running the first time I say stop! While I am not down-playing the importance of these things being developed in a child’s life, I just always felt like a failure because I was correcting my kids 5 X more than other mom’s at the park and wasn’t seeing change. To get together for a “play-date” so the kids could play and the mom’s could connect was like “play-hell” to me. My kids were the ones running around trying to escape, instead of staying with the group; mine were the ones hitting and biting the other kids; mine were the ones not stopping the first-time I said, “stop”, although we did blanket time every day and practiced on a regular basis, like the books said. Then, there are the looks, like, “discipline your child lady”, when in fact all I did was train and discipline at home. I couldn’t complete a sentence while I was out with the other moms, while the moms of compliant kids felt proud of their accomplishments after being with me. I, then, one day, came to a place of peace with accepting that my kids are different and that’s Ok! Play-dates at parks were not working for us so I just began to adjust my life around who my kids were, not what “they should look like”!
Thankfully, I accepted Joseph for who he was instead of continuing to strive against him to behave like the other kids and released myself from expectations. I don’t have the regret of being so hard on him that I didn’t get into his soul and connect with who he was. I don’t have the regret of wishing I could turn back time and do it over again. My only regret is that I wished I would have gotten it from the beginning! So, now, I am a changed parent, in my thinking! I learned that kids do eventually, “get-it” as you lovingly, consistently, and gracefully coach them in the correct behavior although it may look a little different. Joseph certainly did! He finally potty-trained before he turned four. He started to obey the first-time more, because he loved me and trusted me more. He knew that my intentions for him were good. It wasn’t out of fear, but from his heart.
Now, with Josiah, my unique and charming boy, I just relax, coach, love, and enjoy!!! I can truly enjoy my children, when I learn who God created them to be and yield in many ways, to them, while also yielding to who God created me to be! Connecting with them first is so much more important than external behavior. Now, they will have consistent consequences for inappropriate behavior, but sometimes you just have to choose your battles and redirect. Connecting, trust, and fun are so important to me with my kids! When, you see them so “safe” with their parent because they know that they will be accepted no matter what and that they will lovingly be redirected with boundaries and consequences, it is fulfilling.
I am not a perfect parent, by far, but I am a better parent because my perspective is more focused. I am more focused on the connect with my child. Adjusting to him, instead of always requiring that he adjust to me. My opportunity to parent one of my children is now over! My time had expired unaware! I want to enjoy every day with Josiah and embrace who he is.
I would like to encourage you today to enjoy and accept your children today. None of us are promised tomorrow, not even our children!
I Corinthians 13:4-8 says:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
Written April 4, 2012
Just hanging out with Mama!
Scott boys drinking morning juice and learning self-control during “blanket-Time”!