"He sure is a handful."
"Your son has so much energy."
"Does he ever stop?"
There's the more polite version that attempts to cover up what they actually mean, "I bet he crashes at night."
The other assumption, "You must be exhausted."
Then there are those who won't say it to my face so I get the second-hand comments, "I heard he's quite a character." What exactly does that mean?
They like to label it with things like "He's got an active imagination" or "He's so creative."
I get the consoling of "One day that energy will be put to good use," or "I just don't know how you do it."
Do what? Parent? Be a mother to a boy? Be his mother? Gasp.
JUST STOP! PLEASE.
How do I be his mother? How do I parent this active-on-the-go boy? It's simple. The same way every other mother parents their child who sits still and minds and never ever, EVER, disobeys. Yeah right.
One day at a time. One moment at a time. One prayer at a time.
The truth is he is a handful. He does have a lot of energy. He is full of himself, active in every sense of the word. He's got a vivid imagination that I admire and a creative side that I do wonder where it will take him in his future. He's also got an argumentative personality that tests every limit. He needs the final word. He has to have an explanation for almost everything. (Tell me again how we don't share the same DNA?! Somehow my poor mother survived!)
Yes, it is a challenge. Isn't all parenting?! Surely I'm not the only one who is on her hands and knees before God asking for grace and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness as I love and parent. Surely I'm not the only mother who has cried tears of frustration or collapsed out of exhaustion because of a tiresome day of parenting. AM I???
I know my boy. I know he's not easy. Parenting is not easy. Usually everything comes easily to me. But not this. I've enjoyed great success and opportunities to excel in nearly every job I've acquired. But this - no degree, no job experience, no internship could have prepared me for the demanding schedule, the problem-solving skills, the relational expertise and all the real-life experiences I'd have to endure. It's a job I begged God to give me and He answered. WITH THIS CHILD. My boy. I don't believe He thought I was fit to handle the challenge but I do believe He planned to stretch and grow me in a lot of on-the-job training! I also know He didn't make a mistake. Not in appointing me to this position and not in creating this boy, my boy, His child.
Another mom spoke wisdom into my soul this week about comparing my child to anyone else's. "It's like putting David in Saul's armor. David had the wisdom to say "No, this doesn't fit," but our children don't know that for themselves. It's our job as their parents to say "NO" to the comparisons on their behalf. When people expect them to fit into a specific category, we must be their advocates. We must be that wisdom to say, "That doesn't fit my child." Oh how I love this! It is my anthem from this mom's heart to anyone else struggling with whatever stage, age or challenge you might be facing with your own child.
Maybe it's a special need. A disability. Maybe it's a troublesome teen, or a trying toddler. Maybe it's an exertion of independence or an abundance of energy. Join me in this wisdom, knowing that Saul's armor wasn't meant for David. Trying to compare our children to others is like putting Saul's armor on David. Pray for armor for your child(ren) but pray it is the armor of God that they suit up with everyday.
Thank You, Lord, for the work You've begun that You promise to complete. Philippians 1:6. I know You're still working on us both.