Why not being perfect doesn’t deem me a failure

Any facade I was holding onto about being an excellent parent continue to be pulled away these past few weeks.  Perhaps it’s just me but in my experience with a uniquely challenging child that often eclipses the needs of the rest of the family, the long haul of it can be daunting.  I think that because we’ve seen great strides and wonderful improvement in our son’s life and coping skills, I began to feel like we were moving on.  Along with that, I let myself forget some of the tools that were built into our life and slacked a bit on the things that I know help him.  Without thinking about it a bit, on some level I thought we were all good.

After the dismal failure of swimming lessons and several other choicely located fits of a completely overwhelmed, overdone child – I remembered.  And it hurt.  I remembered how he is wired and why his brain makes life difficult for him.  I am so aware that so many parents have much greater challenges than I with their children.  I am so grateful that we’ve received all the support and tools and help we have.

But my heart just ached to be able to make life work better for our son.  To help him feel like all of life was not too much for him.  And I can’t do it.  Makes me cry just to type the words.

This is one of the hardest absolutes of parenting.

My son’s life is just that.  His.  I’m not writing his story.  God is.  All his current struggles and the far greater struggles that await him will shape the core of who he becomes.  I may be a key character in the story and goodness knows I want to be a great one.  But the reality is I will fail him more times than I can count.  I will weep beside his bed as he sleeps and pray for God to cover over the times I get it wrong.

The only way I can face tomorrow is in clinging to a truth that I believe with all my heart: the way my children turn out is not up to me.  God holds their life, their future, their whole being in His able hands.

Pondering all of these things, I just remembered that I never did a book review for a book that really spoke to me and is worth sharing.  Written by Leslie Leyland-Fields, the book is entitled “Parenting is Your Highest Calling and 8 other Myths that Trap us in Worry and Guilt”.  Yes, I know very long title for a book.  But the heart of the book held truths that I really needed to hear.  More than any is that parenting isn’t actually my highest calling, even though we often here this is church settings.  Loving and pursuing God above all else is actually the ‘parenting model’ that will transform not only my life but the lives of my children.

The other profound piece that I took away was the myth that “Good parenting leads to happy children”.  This was something I knew at some level but upon digging deeper left me feeling so hope filled and so freed.   Heart-level discipline and strong leadership may not lend themselves to happy children all the time.  Happiness isn’t actually what I’m aiming for.  If I did a quick inventory it’s the least happy times that often have shaped my life, for the better.

So though happy may not describe my son and it may not perfectly describe me at the moment, that is truly okay.  He will learn to overcome.  It is part of his unique and epic story.  I too am learning and will continue learning not just to survive what is hard but to overcome and relish the journey, even when it hurts.

Happy Birthday Kyler!

Dear four year old Kyler,

Four years ago today, we drove to the hospital on a bright sunny day to get induced so that we could meet you.  It was my first induction and I was nervous but your labor was strangely peaceful and lovely.  Five hours later you were born and you were calm and beautiful from day one.  You loved binkies and your special blankie and you loved to snuggle.  You slept when you wanted and were a delightful little baby.  You were big, just like your brother and grew quickly into a wonderfully round little boy.  Just this morning while you held my hand I admired your pudgy little fingers and was glad you still have them.  Your cheeks and your oh-so-full kissable lips are a perfect match for your dark chocolate eyes.

You’ve become famous for an array of mischievous adventures that have made their way to my blog.  This last little while you are exerting your boy-ness and trying to figure out what your place in our family looks like.  You follow after a rather bossy but loving sister and a high-need, very sensitive brother.  If I were in your shoes, I would think that would be hard.  I’m pretty sure it is and in the months to come, I pray that you’ll find your niche and figure out that being naughty isn’t the only way to get my attention.

Listening to you talk is one of my favorite things.  You skip the ‘s’ at the beginning of words and it always, always makes me smile.  I know it will soon pass and you’ll talk like a big kid.  So for now, I adore it.  Just a few months ago you gave up your binky and sleep has been hard ever since.  Up till then you just hopped into bed and snoozed the night away.

You love your Spiderman shirt and you always ask to ‘do school’ like your older siblings.  You cry every time we talk about going to preschool in September.  You have the best lips for pouting.  You have the BEST giggle when something tickles your funny bone.  You can be very tender when you choose and you don’t like it when Mama cries.  You find Audrey’s blankie for her when she’s sad.  You are growing strawberries in the front yard this year in your box.  You love fruit and you always want to help me cook.  You love to wrestle with your daddy.

You are loved.  You are a precious gift to our family and we are all better because we share life with you.  Your dad and I look forward to watching your life unfold and can’t wait to see the adventures God has in store for you.

Love,

Mama

Introducing cousin Ruby

is that not the sweetest face in the world?

Audrey can’t get enough of her new cousin, she held her three times tonight upon meeting her for the first time!

There is so much hope wrapped up in the tiny package of a newborn.  In the midst of many losses this year, knowing that this little babe was on the way was such a reminder of good things mixed in with life’s pain.  The miracle of new life is just that, it is beyond explanation.  Holding my new niece has been the highlight of this week!  For more pictures you can visit my sister’s blog here.