My little guy Kaper (Kaleb). The handsome little man who brings so much laughter to our lives dropped his big brother at school and then all the way home he said good morning to every bird, dog, cat, and person we passed by. He chatted away the whole walk, communing with nature by squawking at the birds and barking at the dogs and when we finally got home he smiled at me and said ‘Mummy, playtime now?’. I had to smile, this guy is so hard to resist, so we got down on the floor and played cars. As we played I had to take a moment to look at the mess in the kitchen left over from our rushed breakfast and hasty exit to school. I didn’t have time to play… I didn’t have time to be chasing Thomas around the train tracks, nor did I have time to crash my car into his school bus. Then I looked back at Kaper who was smiling with the warmth of the sun and I thought ‘how can I not have time to do this?’. So, the kitchen was put off a few minutes I smashed another car into the bus. When Kaper was done playing with me he moved onto other toys and I was able to move on to things that needed to be done and I thought about last night, about the time Tim and I carved out to begin the Alpha parenting course. How FUN is important to kids, how playing with them teaches them how to play with other kids, how giving them attention and showing them they are loved is the most important job we have as parents. Something clicked last night as we moved our way through section one of this course. These two little guys are individuals. They are different as the sun and the moon. Josh, more like his Dad and Kaper more like me. Josh, shy and quiet and introspective, Kaper is loud, likes to meet new people, not often shy and always ready to greet you with a big HI or Good morning!
When Kaper goes to school everyone is his friend, he makes sure of it. At church he’s the same way. Josh, prefers to stay on the side lines and play with people he knows well. Last night, I realized that I am trying to make Josh more like me. The things I love about my husband, the quiet, steady and wise man that he is, is exactly who Josh is growing into and in my haste to push him to make friends at school maybe I am trying to carve him into someone he’s not? He is the one who will make friends slowly, but as Tim says, the friends he makes will be friends that he keeps for years. He will more than likely make wise decisions when making friends as Tim has done his whole life. I was so quickly making friends with anyone and everyone that sometimes I made poor choices in friends. So why am I trying to make him more like me? Why am I trying to put my fears onto my sweet son?
My fears as a kid were that I wouldn’t be accepted, in many ways that is still one of my deepest fears. I want people to like me. It’s simple. What if, I were to just let Josh figure this out, without putting my fears onto him? What if I just allowed him to make his own choices?
Parenting… I am learning… is hardest, not when the baby isn’t sleeping through the night, or demanding to be fed at awkward times but rather when the time comes when you need to ease up the grip and give them room to grow into their own person. The harder I want to cling, the more of a handicap I am giving him.
While I still pray that Josh will make friends, I am now praying that I will find the grace to let him choose who he wants to be his friend. I can help, I can guide, I can teach, but ultimately he is the one who has to spend the time with the kid. Today, as we walked to school, he ran ahead of me for the first time since day one (before he knew where he was going). He showed a little hesitation in the line going into the school but he went without too much complaint. Kaper, who was with me waved goodbye and Josh smiled. Josh might not know it now, or then maybe he does, but his best friend is sharing a bunk with him every night, playing with him everyday, and waiting for him to come home even now.