I have mentioned before that I gave birth to four lovely children. Motherhood is truly a blessing from God that is priceless. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t come with an instruction booklet. Ask my oldest son. I still tell him to forgive us. After all, he was the first-born and we were clueless. He was like a guinea pig in some ways. I am, however, thankful for those authors who published helpful books.
My first two, a son and then a daughter, were pretty by the book, so to speak. Challenging, but great with their feeding and growth timings. Even their behaviors were not too difficult as young babies and toddlers (teenage years will have to be another post). Then along came the third born. Another son. Cute as a button. I wanted a boy and told my husband. I even had his name picked out before conception. I just knew, therefore I had to have. And there he came. Things were going along quite nicely until he began to crawl and walk and then talk. Crawling wasn’t good enough. He had to climb before his first step. Found him in the middle of the kitchen table standing there at seven months of age.
Then came the talking. He had an amazing use of baby language. It went something like this:
Son: ldkfuosienro aisghos pih anodi asj u dijg dfkg ifug o???
Me: Yes, that’s right.
Well, you get the idea. This type of conversation went on the entire car ride length of the mountain valley we lived in.
When words made more sense to him he would ask for Mackaners for dinner. Took me a while to realize he wanted a hamburger. Mackaner being a cross between a big mac and a hamburger. His Uncle Peter was Uncle Computer – cross between the other uncle that gave us our first computer and Peter.
As he grew my husband and I would look at each other from time to time and ask, “Who does he take after?” We were clueless. He looked a lot after my side of the family so we knew there was no switching at the hospital.
One day, I was home alone with him and his new baby brother, who was taking a nap. I watched our number three son go around the kitchen opening all the lower cupboards hoping for an empty one he could crawl into and be alone. I knew how he felt. I was vacuuming and just talking to the Lord about this little guy he gave us. I asked again, “Who does he take after?” I believe God can talk to us in a deep place within in a still small voice, a strong whisper (bible reference I Kings 19:12). I heard, “He takes after you”, as I continued to vacuum. I said, “No, I don’t think so. He is very confident and travels to his own beat.” I heard again, “He takes after you.” And then it hit me. He is so much like me and I couldn’t see it until that moment. I began to see my life unfold before me – as I continued to vacuum – when I was just three or four years old my parents faced a difficult time. My dad became ill and suddenly he passed away when I was just four. My mom found herself having to raise three children on her own, the youngest doesn’t even remember our dad. From that point we, as young children, were put in a place where we had to grow up fast. My older brother was told the old belief, “You’re the man now”….. what???? I was a middle child with great imagination and creativity that got forced into a left-brained world. I was lost. I became withdrawn and extremely shy. No one knew what to do with me because I was so quiet. I grew up with my mom constantly saying that the teachers think I need a psychiatrist. That was the 1950s – that was the mindset. Now a days we go to counselors or life coaches because, let’s face it, we can’t do it alone. But the generation my mom came from were very strong and very proud folk.
So I knew at that moment while vacuuming that my son and I were two peas in a pod. He was just being raised differently. I knew my mom did the best she knew how but there were consequences that I had to walk through. That day was such a day of freedom for me. A day of healing. I told my husband about it that night and told him to look out! I now know who I am.
That is one of the most wonderful things about having children and raising them. They are each a different individual. Each one cannot be raised identical to the last one. Your family will have a general way you want to raise your family, your beliefs, religion, moral standards. But the carrying out of those things will be different for each child. Time outs may not work for one as they did for the others. And that is what I think is the hardest part of parenting. Knowing and discovering each of your children as individuals and what makes them tick and what will be the best for each one is a lot of work!
Hats off to you parents of today! And to you grandparents who play such a vital part in your children’s and children’s children’s lives! Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy life with them. They are a joy not a drudgery!
A classic for you: