I’m not the mom I thought I would be.
My sons aren’t what I envisioned. There is no denying that they are “delayed”, “behind”, “coping”, “traumatized”- not the status quo. Sometimes the pain of living with that is beyond measure. Other times it is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. On most days, it is both.
My two year old can’t walk. He is close to crawling. Naturally, there are very good reasons for that. Leukemia causes pain in the leg muscles and bone marrow, so a child having sudden pain or refusing to walk is a notable concern in conjunction with other factors. There are always reasons for why we can’t keep up. It doesn’t change the facts, no matter how the pain may be alleviated for the moment. I am still thrilled for your kid’s early accomplishments and I still want to hear and celebrate with you! Each kid is at a different pace and I don’t mind the occasional jog or sprint moment in my tortoise-paced marathon. If you reach finish lines before we do, you can cheer us on when we cross.
I’ve learned many valuable lessons about teaching children that I didn’t learn as a classroom teacher. For instance, to teach William the Conqueror to crawl, I must get down on a mat on my hands and knees, support his body and gently force him into position. Then I must make him bear weight and let him push against me to make him stronger. This takes my “drill sergeant face” to a new level. We’re talking Russian Olympic Coach, here– because it makes him stronger.
I suppose that is what has happened to me for the past three years. I’ve been broken. My plans have been altered for life and I’m delayed. Sometimes it is hard to see everyone run ahead and wave as they go by. It is hard to be patient when someone is always behind. It is easier to put us in a group and go on.
I’m learning that adventures are much better when you travel with “delay fish”. You can learn a lot in the school of delay fish.
The amazing thing is, after weeks and weeks of pushing, striving, sweating, and fighting, one day they start moving. I sat on a large, red, rectangular gym mat and watched a ball roll away from William. As I started to move and reach for it, he scooted in his own rump-bump way and like a flash, he was across the mat and holding the ball. I was overjoyed to be dumbfounded. Imagining him getting up and walking across the room makes me instantly tear up– it will be like watching the impossible occur and yet it WILL happen. Holding on to that much hope and faith overfills my heart.
I think all parents feel this way from time to time. We push, pull, plead and strain to get our kids to do things and then one day the not only meet but exceed our expectations. As we try to savor the moment, we realize we must speed after them. This is the heart-cry of those who parent, teach, train, disciple, and love. All of a sudden we are passed by those we lead and we must catch up.
“There go my men, and I must hasten after them for I am their leader.”–Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin
I am learning that I must lead by example as well as lead from behind. When the boys are marching at their own place to destinations that I had never planned. Along the way, my William has gained followers. People are watching him. They are inspired. They cheer us on, pray for us and ponder us. My sons make people think about Jesus and what faith looks like when you strip away all the promises of a perfect and pleasant life. Jesus spent more time healing the broken than with the folks that didn’t want to be fixed. If you have to be broken to be in the presence of the most high God, it is worth it.
Slow down. Make time for divine delays. They will hurt. They will break you. They are worth it. I am not the mother I thought I’d be. My sons aren’t the sons I thought I’d have. They are better. Maybe, just maybe, they can lead me to become the mother I want to be.