I posted a picture today on my Facebook that I saw several days ago and cried. Maybe it was because of the timing of the picture and Sam just celebrated his 10th birthday. In case you missed the picture it said ‘I couldn’t wait to teach him about the world, Instead he taught me about life!” And I still sit here and cry when I read that.
When we had our little girl I thought the stereotypical ribbons, dresses, tea parties, Barbies, dress up, dance…. And well she fit into so many! I remember her dressing in her princess dress up clothes to go to visit my work on my days off, often complete with a crown and a wand. And over the years, she has turned into an amazing young lady who still has “girly phases’ and others dresses in her dad’s camo coat and a hat with a pony tail. Though I taught her about the world, she taught me to look at life differently. She just completed a research paper for school on what she wants to be when she graduates. A young lady on a mission and the beginning of well thought out plans,
When we had our little boy I thought the stereotypical ballgames, riding bikes, boy scouts (after all Jim was a troop leader when we didn’t have any children), etc. But Sam’s drum sounds a little different.. it is trains, Godzilla, dinosaurs, action figures – which are all “boy” things, but no sports, no bikes. It isn’t something I usually discuss or dwell on, but there are days it is hard. I often say I am thankful he isn’t into things because it simplifies my life, which is partly true. The other part by being grateful for the positive makes the negative hurt a little less. When I have to help him do things that other kids at 10 can do for themselves, it scares me a little and stings a little because I don’t know what his future will be. I talked yesterday to someone yesterday about how it was just a couple years ago that he could finally express if something hurt. I watch him struggle with speech and little things that come so easy to most. I guess only time will tell.
But one thing I know for sure, that through Mary’s eyes AND Sam’s eyes, I have learned a lot about LIFE! Mary and I have some GREAT conversations about her view and my view on things. I love to take the devil’s advocate role just to make her think outside of her world. I also have a bad habit of being a people pleaser / peace maker (probably a whole separate blog) and have seen myself try to push that on her. Well, she isn’t so much either of those anymore and has become ‘Mary” instead ( = Anyway, she recently said something to me and it was the light bulb moment for me with her… it went something like this ‘Just because my problems /issues don’t seem as big as someone else’s does NOT make them any less important.” (or something very close). In life, and in nursing, I learned the customer is always right. Life isn’t about outdoing someone else by having a bigger problem. Nor, should it be about undermining someone else problem as being less than mine. She is definitely teaching me about life as she navigates hers, and though there are times I wish she would conform to my thoughts (less arguing), I am so thankful she has learned to just be ‘Mary”.
Sam has so taught me about life… about the power of being 100% honest because he can’t conceptualize a lie in the black/white world. He has taught me not to take life so seriously, but to laugh about the little things. He has taught me that even Sponge Bob has great phrases that can fit nicely into socially acceptable phrases. His memory is amazing and serves him well to survive in the world. He has taught me how simple things are not always so simple and should never be taken for granted. It is okay to meltdown as long as you pull yourself back together and continue on! His imagination and how he sees life is brought out in pictures, expressions, or building of a new adventure. There is never just one use for an item, but a hundred if I just “think outside the box.” Just yesterday with all the rain we have the big puddle formation. He found a ‘family of rocks” and brought them into our garage as “guests”. He carefully laid out a paper towel for each to sit on. That family had races to the puddle and then came back in to dry off and keep warm. As he talked more, it became a lesson to me on family and how he views family. There would have been a day I would have been so busy with getting the garage worked on that I wouldn’t have really listened. Samuel was teaching ME on what is important to him – family, warmth, safety, and fun… All with four little rocks (and then when Melissa came for Mary, he found a fifth rock).
Both our children have taught me about life by beating their own drums and dancing to their own music…Sometimes we are in rhythm and sometimes a little off-key. They teach me to be ME and shut out the world’s expectations. I am learning to believe it is better to STAND OUT than try to fit in. I can dwell on the expectations I thought would happen, or live a better life with a better plan God had for me. Though the future is uncertain and at times scary, it is more important to Intentionally LIVE in the moment…