You’re about to be 9. In the car last week we started talking about what age you become an adult. We counted how many years we have left together under the same roof until you are old enough to venture out on your own. You and Char both started crying. You said you didn’t want to go. Char didn’t want you to leave. You don’t have to move out tomorrow, so I’m not that worried for either of you, but I sure did appreciate your desire to stay.
Surprisingly, I did NOT cry. Watching you grow older doesn’t pinch my heart quite the same way it sometimes does for Charlotte and Shelton. Maybe it’s because every extra year I get with you still feels like a bonus.
You asked for a microscope and Pokémon cards. We also got you a big new bike that looks huge and fits me. Poppa T got you the best microscope he could find and made your month by taking you to the lab to make custom slides. I think THIS is why I’m excited about you getting older, Shep. Every year you age up, you get even more interesting. Learning new information is what drives you and it makes talking to you so fun. You ask good questions and you really listen to the answers.
Right now you want to be a pathologist, like Poppa T, but who knows what you’ll end up doing…it’s cool watching you begin to sort it out.
This year you became a legit bookworm. We ditched soccer and Dad and I finally caved and let you start karate. You love it even though it means leaving the house twice a week so I’m kind of impressed. We cheered when you got accepted into the gifted program at school last month; you wanted in more than I realized. This little win for you, was a gift for me, as your mom. It was as if God was reminding me that he didn’t leave out a thing when it came to your healing. He was merciful to you, and in turn, to me.
Nothing about you is textbook Shep, but we are used to it now and we appreciate the ride. You challenge us as parents in the best way. Your passions are clearly defined: Relationships, science, hunting/outdoors and reading. You crave time with your dad more than anyone in the world and shot your first deer with him earlier this fall. It was basically the highlight of your life, and probably your dad’s top memory of 2019.
So babe, when you go to sleep an eight year old and wake up nine, we will celebrate you without the ache of time going by. It’s such a thrill to watch you grow into who you are. Engaging, curious and tenderhearted. My anxiety over your future is rapidly evaporating with each passing year, which means for now, your birthdays are simply happy celebrations.
I’ve started writing the “So, We’re Having a Baby” post at least three times in the last six months but just couldn’t seem to get the tone right. My excitement level about our 3rd baby has been called into question a few times by family members and when I sit down to write about it I guess I can kind of see why. I bailed on all my drafts of this posts because they didn’t sound “excited” enough and I didn’t really feel like fanning that flame. I’ve also bought next to nothing in preparation for this little guy even though I purged everything baby about three years ago. That’s probably why lots of people assume our baby #3 is a Whoops Baby, but he’s not. It also might have something to do with the fact that we actually SAID we were done. Like, repeatedly, for about 3 years. I even told the whole Internet just how done I was in this post . And we were done….until we weren’t, but that’ s kind of how we roll.
It’s simple really. I had a certain birthday and straight panicked. If I’m 100% honest, we said we were done but it was always because we were locked in a season where we just could not take on any more stress voluntarily. It literally took us a good two years to crawl out of the hole Shep’s drowning had thrown us into, and another year to figure out our new normal. I started a new career, we moved across town and then held our breath to see how Shep would handle mainstream Kindergarten. Full disclosure, it always stung us a little when we admitted we had reached our limit, but we knew enough to know we were stretched as far as we could go, as a couple and as a family. Not to mention, we were already so thankful for what we currently still had, that it felt unwise and selfish to push ourselves into a situation that didn’t work for us just to keep up. Finally, this last year life shifted, we felt steady, unified, and a little more relaxed then we’d been in a long time. We could finally see past a year or two into our future and cast a vision 10-20 years out. We agreed our kitchen table could use one more person at Thanksgiving.
We agonized over going for 3 and then deliberately went for it. We’ve never been able to play the If It Happens, It Happens Game because it happens, every time, in about a month or two, so that thought process doesn’t really work for us. Baby 3 was a decision. We decided, it happened, and then I spent the entire first trimester wondering if I’d made a huge mistake.
I think one of the main differences between this pregnancy and my other two is we are just too busy living our life to sit and THINK about having this baby. Sure, we know he’s coming, but our house is still in the phases of a remodel and our big kids are doing their things, so we just go on about our day. Every now and then I freak out, and remember I need a stroller at some point, and should probably clear out the office to put a new dresser in there. I’ll just say it: Large scale remodeling sucks. I hope I’ll tell you it’s worth it in the end. I can admit that our neighborhood is old school and charmed…but in the thick of it, I’m not going to preach that remodeling, on a budget, (meaning slower timeline), with kids while you live in the house is a great idea. It’s not, at least not for me. I’d rather live my life on the weekends and not be tied to projects, but I also care a lot about having people over and creating a cozy home environment. Let’s just say, I don’t love it, it makes nesting impossible, and I turn all shades of Envy Green when I’m showing clients brand new move-in ready homes.
Another difference: My kids are at my favorite ages yet to date. Five and seven. It’s amazing, and funny, and interesting. It’s all the good adjectives. They are SO fun, and can be SO easy, so I’d be lying to say going back to the starting line doesn’t make me flinch a little. I mean, newborns are Heaven, but potty training is Hell. Not to mention Char just learned how to sleep through the night at the ripe old age of FIVE. On the flip side, now I have helpers, so I’m eager to see how that plays out…. Sister is bursting at the seams with anticipation of her little brother’s arrival and Shep actually cried tears of joy when we broke the news. Their excitement melts me and their bond with each other is one of the main reasons we wanted to add to our family. Char is the one who forces me to walk through the baby isles at Target and points out all the things we will eventually need to buy. She’s a pressure salesman, by the way.
Finally, being pregnant and 30-something feels a lot different then being pregnant and 20-something. It’s just not as much fun this time around…I’m bigger, slower, and feeling a lot less darling about the whole thing. Also, I went mentally dark in the first trimester, something I’ve never experienced before and didn’t know existed. Thankfully, a Sunday school friend noticed me struggling, and shared that she too, went dark with all her boy pregnancies. She encouraged me that the apathy and negativity would wear off in a couple more weeks and thank God, around week 14/15 I was back to being social. My general good will towards life re-emerged around the same time the sun finally came out for Spring. I’m not sure if it was a combination of hormones and the winter months of January- March, but the experience freaked me out a little more than I’d like, plus makes me hyper-aware of post partum similarities.
All that to say, it’s just different this time around…but that doesn’t mean we aren’t pumped. The Pampers Swaddle commercials get me every time. I can’t wait to see what life is like as a family of five. We purposely bought tickets back to Crazy Town and I’m OK with it even if I’m nervous about maybe living there forever. Unfortunately, I’m also obnoxiously impatient, and knowing that Shep eventually ended up fine being born at 32.4 weeks means the minute I get to week 33 in this pregnancy I’ll be like, “Anytime kid. Come anytime.” Which is a TERRIBLE way to think when you’re baking a human, so instead I do the opposite. I just don’t think about it. It’s easier. God willing, our new little guy will make his healthy, fully cooked, debut in September and I’m sure he’ll be worth the wait. Who knows , we might even have a crib by then.
You are officially 7. Congrats sweet boy, you are a big kid, even though you occasionally forget now and again. You asked me yesterday if I thought you were too big to be in Kindergarten. The truth is, I second-guess our decision to hold you back every time someone asks you if you are in first grade. I inwardly cringe just a little, as I’m sure you might too. I’m praying eventually this shakes out, until you get your driver’s license before your friends and become The One With A Car. But deep down I believe what I said when I answered your question. “No, sweetie. I don’t. Your dad and I believe you are a leader, so that’s what you can be in school. Being the oldest will help you do that even better.”
If you take your name as a verb, the definition of Shepherd is to guide or direct in a particular direction. Synonyms include: lead, take, guide, and see. These are all attributes I see in you my son. I particularly like the word see. Because you DO see Shepherd. You are the most intuitive child I’ve ever known. You sense what people are thinking, good or bad. This can come in handy for you. You can read a situation and adjust accordingly if you pay attention. You also have passion Shep, and as you continue to gain control of it, you can direct it towards issues that matter to you, and can use your passion to inspire others. You stand out to your teachers and camp counselors for your ability to encourage. That’s leading Shep. Leading is helping others believe in themselves. You do this naturally.
My prayer for you this year is that you will grow in your belief in yourself. You have what it takes. You are a wonder, kid. You’re deep waters, curiosity, heart and fire. We love you more than you could ever know, and we’re right behind you, through this year of 7, and every year after.
Jeremiah 3:15- Then I will give you shepherds who are dear to my heart. Their knowledge and understanding will help them lead you.
My kids have left for school and I am home in a quiet house cleaning out my desk. It’s cluttered with school papers of ABC worksheets, and Halloween drawings depicting scarecrows or dancing skeletons underneath a disco ball. (Shep likes a good party.) Char’s big, lopsided, circle faces of our family stare back at me from the page, and my heart tightens. I feel that same feeling every time I watch her skip confidently into school from the car pool line. I am desperate to get them out the door, already aggravated from arguing over messy hair and brushed teeth. But I miss them as soon as they leave my sight.
We are in a good routine now, but this summer parenting left me at a new low I didn’t know I could reach. Personalities were hard, and schedules were loose. I found myself at the end of my rope and grasping at straws trying to understand why one of my children was so angry, seemingly every day. It was a terrible feeling. Dealing with crisis with your babies is traumatic, but dealing with big feelings and angry words on a daily basis drained me in a new way. I was failing…something wasn’t working and I couldn’t find the ways to fix it. It was a whole new type of defeat. Finally, I found help in the form of a sorority sister who happens to be a family counselor. She propped me back up, gave me some new tools and honest feedback. She reminded me that I am my kids’ mom for a reason and I knew what I was doing even when it never felt like it. The things I learned from this summer I’ll try to change over the next one, best I can.
It’s crazy watching your babies grow up. Shep’s reading abilities are slowly gaining momentum and I’m breathing a giant sigh of relief after parent teacher conferences. The kids are alright. My Shepherd boy is alright. We intentionally withheld all information about Shep’s drowning from his teacher and his new school. We wanted a clean read on Shepherd, without any pre-conceived opinions. After 3 years of wondering, I always knew Kindergarten would be my biggest litmus test and I feel like we passed.
I see patterns forming in his behavior, the randomness of ages 3-5 giving way to distinct personality traits. His passions are defined: Science, Legos, family, nature. Encouragement is his gift to others. He gives his heart away without reservation and is learning he won’t always get it back the way he thought. He’s an observer, quick to pick up on words not meant for his ears. Brutally honest, Shep will rat himself out any day of the week but he still manages to be a master manipulator of a situation once he’s pinpointed a weak spot. Our boy loves people but still does what he wants on the playground regardless of who does or doesn’t join his game. His imagination is still his biggest asset.
Nearing 7, his dance with faith is beginning to take on a rhythm of its own and the steps are becoming more complicated. Nothing slips by him. In a moment of intense frustration he furiously tells me he believes in God, but he doesn’t think He’s listening. His prayers have gone unanswered. All I can do is nod my head. “I get it buddy, I’ve felt the same way. But I know enough to know he’s listing now, so I’m going keep praying because this is a particularly difficult situation we’re in and I could use some help.”
I realized yesterday, praying will soon become my number one parenting recourse when things are going sideways. Erron and I will still encourage, set boundaries and enforce consequences, but once you send your kids off to school and they start finding their own friends, you rapidly start loosing some of the control you didn’t even know you had. It’s terrifying but also exciting to see them work out who they are….I day dream about flying Shep around the country and taking him to different science museums. I’m so curious to see how school will play out for him. He remains complicated, deeply loving, thoughtful and intense. Parenting him will never be boring.
This summer I walked though the wilderness as a Shep’s momma but I also know he’s too old now to share the details of our journey. All that matters is that we came out the other side and our path is much smoother now. This won’t be the last time we’ll get lost in the weeds but that’s ok. Like I said before, parenting is our favorite adventure, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.
It’s been so busy around here that I’m just now getting around to writing down Char’s big 4 back in February. She had a princess party. Naturally.
She went with Aurora, not necessarily her favorite princess movie, (Rapunzel) but I think she likes Aurora’s hair and her dress, so there you have it. We hosted Princess Aurora and all Char’s royal friends at our old neighborhood clubhouse because at the time, our house was full of boxes. Aurora showed up and did her royal thing and it was the best money I ever spent. From the moment I let Her Highness in the door she took over the whole party and mesmerized everyone. She never broke character, even when her phone rang, interrupting her Disney soundtrack. She just chirped, “Oh!! I think Prince Phillip is trying to call me!” And flushed the Prince’s call. (Her hard- to-get game is strong.) We were dying. And a little impressed. It’s not every day you get to hang out with an adult sized princess, so committed to her role. There were a lot of bubbles, face painting, and a scavenger hunt. The whole thing went off without a hitch.
At four, Char is still a full-on Momma’s girl. She and Shep are thick as thieves, when he’s not being rude to her and she’s not telling on him. Char starts the night off in the bottom bunk of his room. They stay up way too late talking to each other but their conversations are so silly, Erron and I struggle finding the motivation to shut them down. She still craws into my arms nearly every night between 1-3 AM. Her love language is touch–cuddling and a movie are her idea of a dream day. She wraps tight little hugs around your neck that make you feel like the most important person in the world. She is also THE MOST impatient person on the planet…I think she got that one from me. It’s a constant work in progress.
At four, Charlotte can do a perfect cartwheel, the monkey bars, and ride a bike, which will mostly likely loose its training wheels by the summer. She can sorrrrrt of write her name. Tumbling is her new favorite thing. She is still our baby and the source of lots of our entertainment. When she turns five I don’t know what I’ll do…. so four, you need to last a long, long time.
In the last year, any shred of baby boyness has dissolved away leaving behind angles, sharp cheekbones, and an entire wardrobe you don’t fit anymore. You learned how to ride a bike without training wheels this year, and lost your first tooth not long ago. You are our first born, and conversations with you feel strangely adult-ish. It can become complicated, but also incredibly fun and fascinating. Your mind never stops analyzing, we can practically see the wheels turning as you process what you’re seeing, hearing, observing. You get a read on the situation and peg it for what it really is when we least expect it. You are an observer of your surroundings, but always manage to engage others along the way.
Shepherd. We love you more than words can describe. But on your birthday today, let us try to tell you how much.
This year I asked our family members to tell me 6 things they saw in Shep that they loved. I’ve documented the responses and we’ll read him different ones to Shepherd throughout the day. Getting back my family’s replies made me cry. They see the same treasures in Shep that I do. The big and little things that make him our sweet and complicated Shepherd boy who we all cherish.)
So sweet Shep, here is just a taste of some of the things we all adore about you. Six is not a high enough number, so I’ve listed more than that here. The truth is, there are too many to count.
We love the little things about you, like how you laugh waaaay too hard, at your own jokes.
And the bigger things you do. How you care for Charlotte, or care for anyone really, even when no one is looking. God gifted you with a heart for hosting, for making others feel included and cared for. You are great at introductions and you love a good party.
Your dance moves. Good Lord, you love to dance as much as your momma! When you feel the beat there is NO stopping you. NO ONE has moves quite like you Shep. No one.
Your questions! You make me think too hard constantly. If you are interested in a topic, you are in deep. If you feel like something is off, you take notice and you ask. Your questions are thought provoking, curious, and frighteningly perceptive. We love conversations with you.
Your insatiable obsession of all things Halloween. It’s creepy and darling and we love it SO MUCH.
Your art work. We’re obsessed. It’s all over our house because you create the best drawings for any Holiday season.
Your creativity. The running play that goes on in your head is fun to watch. The sheer originality of the insults you throw at me in a fit of rage also deserve some merit. (Some day I will write them all down for you Boy and then give them to you your children so they can dazzle you with your own words as often as you have amused me…;) Seriously though, the imagination. Only you can entertain yourself with your own two hands, pretending one is a good guy and one is a bad guy, and create an entire story line out of it on a drive to Tulsa. It’s impressive.
Your honesty. In the middle of conflict you struggle with apologies because you’re not sure if you ACTUALLY feel bad for being rude or unkind. “I KNOW I should be sorry Mom,” you tell me through dramatic tears, “But I don’t FEEL sorry so I’m not sure if I really mean it! So… I can’t say it! I’m NOT sorry!” Annnnd then more tears. You and I are so related. Ask your daddy how many times I actually feel sorry when I should probably just be asking for forgiveness…..There’s a SIGNIFIGANT time delay for when head and heart sync up. But you’re honest about it up front Shep. You cannot lie kid… about anything, and I’m so grateful. #sorrynotsorry
Your fortitude. Born 8 weeks early, you took it like a champ. Exactly three and half years later you survived another devastating hit and thrived again when everyone told us otherwise. But you never come across as the tough kid, and you’re quick to admit your own limitations or fears. You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for Son. You CAN do the hard things….you already have, when no else could do them for you.
The way you respond to music. You get embarrassed that a song can make you cry. But this is one of my very favorite things about you. It reveals your heart.
Your eyes. They come from Poppa T. They are captivating and soulful.
The way you love God, question Him but still trust Him encourages me to do the same. I pray this never leaves you.
Shep–Charlotte loves you because you build things for her and you’re her best friend. Your cousin Grey likes you because you ALSO like Legos like him, Ves loves you because you’re so cool. Obviously.
You made me a momma and because of you Shepherd my greatest dream came true. I was made to love you. We share the same heartstrings but you have your daddy’s analytical mind and attention to detail. You have captured all our hearts in so many ways. Cheers to 6 little man. May it be your best year yet.
I know we haven’t always gotten along. I’ve blamed you for a lot of things. When Char cried on Monday that she didn’t want to go to school because she hates nap time, then cried again on Tuesday that she was NOT at school napping with her friends, I blamed you Three. I know you made her do it, so don’t lie. I also know it was you who told her she could run around the house with my lipstick and smear it on my couch. You have it out for parents Three….you try to pin it alllll on Two, but we know what’s up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve trashed talked you Three. I’ve said I hate you and I’ve sat around with other parents and slammed you behind your back, calling you names….God knows we have never been on great terms.
I didn’t know what to think of you the first time I met you Three, when you where hanging out with Shep….but I was pretty sure you were trouble. I didn’t get to experience you fully, six whole months of our time together were foggy and confusing. I didn’t know what to blame on you and what to blame on circumstances. Frankly, I was just so thankful to meet Four I cried and slammed the door on you then tried to forget you ever existed….until you showed up at my house again, two years later.
You and I won’t be hanging much longer Three. Your time is up in this family soon. I only have three more months to really etch you into my brain. But I’m realizing I was wrong about you. There’s a lot I love about you and I think you should stay. You see, I need you Three. You keep my daughter’s body round and soft and squishy in all the right places. You keep her cheeks full and kissable. Just like you told her it was OK to scream about a missing toy, you also told her I could make her finger feel better with nothing but a kiss. I need that Three. I need it to be that easy for a little bit longer. Because of you Three, my baby can run around the house naked and we still laugh. The edges of her words are soft and her sentences are not yet perfected….that’s all you Three, those are some of my favorite things, and you will take them with you when you go. Her brother left you behind and I didn’t even know to look back. Now, I’m about to meet Six and it’s all long skinny legs and angles when we snuggle. Six is too heavy to pick up and carry. You, Three, are responsible for chubby fingers and princess panties. Your favorite game is chase and you love to be captured and tickled. Because of you, my sweet Char grabs my face and turns it towards her in the morning so we can sleep nose to nose.
Darling Three, I take back all the things I said about you. You are like all of us, you have just as much good as you do bad. Don’t leave Three. Stay. Please stay. I will cry when you go. I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again Three, but I know I’m not ready to say goodbye. I didn’t know how much joy you brought us, and though I like your friend Four well enough, my heart will ache when you leave. I will remember you fondly Three, thanks for everything.
Well, in 4 days it will be the 2nd anniversary of Shep’s drowning. Entering into summer this 2nd time felt much different than last year, way more fun. Anticipation trumping anxiety. Still as the date creeps up on us, Erron and I admitted to each other that we were wrestling some with fresh emotions from what happened that day. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about what happened, even if it’s just a passing thought, or a quick gut- check at the end of a tough parenting throw-down. But fortunately those terrifying memories rarely haunt like us in 3-D like they used to.
It helps that Shep is doing incredibly well! We are encouraged and amazed continuously as he continues to mature, learning new things and growing into this interesting, thoughtful and super creative boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. We have a few minor reservations about what issues, (if any) Shep will come across in the future, and we’ve discussed logistics of what that might even look like. We are feeling overwhelmingly positive, but recently some of those difficult feelings have been brought to the surface for both of us. A few days ago I had a nightmare that our lives had moved on without Shep, and watching the little guy struggle with a fear of swimming (since we added the clothing factor) has been somewhat of a trigger for me, especially since his little sister is officially a fish.
Erron and I touched base about the poor family at Disney the other night. Obviously, it could of been us. My God, it nearly WAS me, only played out in a different scenario and with a much different ending. After we exchanged a few sentences trying to put ourselves in those parents shoes, having your whole world ripped away from you when you least expected, I quickly ended the conversation, telling Erron, “Babe, having kids is terrifying. Being a parent is just the scariest thing there is to do in a lifetime.” He agreed. Because it is.
Please hear also: It’s the BEST thing. It cracks your heart open in ways you can’t fathom until you become a parent yourself. But giving your heart away like that puts you at great risk. For loss. For heartache. For worry. For realizing in an instant that you cannot always protect your babies from everything life puts in front of them. By the same hand parenting opens up avenues to experience wild joy, humility, pride, and faith in something bigger than yourself.
It’s heaven on Earth, worth all the risk and then some.
Last year we marked June 21 with a giant party. I’m not sure what we are going to do this year. The timing is tricky because it falls in the middle of the week. I’ll think of something. It doesn’t need to be big, I just want us all together, marking that day as a family, making happy memories. June 21st was the day we almost lost what was most dear, but found it returned to us. We will never stop being thankful.
Think back to when you were faced with a really big decision. Maybe it was choosing where to go to college, whether or not you took that job, bought that house, or tried for that 3rd baby. A decision you intentionally made that had potential to significantly impact you or someone you loved. How did you make it? How much time did you spend on deciding? While I’m throwing out rhetorical questions, I’d like to add: Why are these decision so hard to make?
My obvious guess is because we can’t see the future, we can only imagine outcomes. The true reality of a decision is hidden from us at the time we make a choice. So we are constantly hedging our bets. For the most part I’m SO glad I couldn’t see what my future held for me, I appreciate that God designed life to work that way, but it does makes decision time challenging, especially when there’s not an obvious “Most Right” decision.
Erron and I are in the process of making one such decision and it has been DIFFICULT. We desperately want to do the most right thing by all parties involved. We want the effect of it to be positive. We want to be sensible, above reproach, and true to our hearts…except we’re still not exactly sure what our hearts are telling us. It’s a sensitive decision, with lots of complicated emotions attached to it.
The cherry on top is that as a couple, Erron and I could NOT be more opposite in how we approach big life decisions. I’m dangerously impulsive, swinging dramatically back and forth depending on the day. When it comes to hard decisions, I’d rather rip it off like a band-aid. The more I think about it it, the further away I get from a decision, and the less I can be trusted to be secure in it. On the other end of the spectrum is Erron. Infuriatingly methodical, he logically calculates in each and every possible factor. He will not be rushed and once he makes a choice, it’s made. The End. So, you know, that’s super fun for both of us…Oh, Marriage:You think you’re so funny.
Anyway. Together we’ve sought out council from people we trust and respect, we’ve consulted scripture, and we’ve been praying. Then just when think we have it nailed down, we learn new information, and find ourselves back to the drawing board, most our options changed, new ones we didn’t even know existed popping up.
Eventually however, we will be forced to choose, and then we’ll have to step out in faith and trust that even though we picked a path, The Man Upstairs directs our steps. One thing I have to remember when dealing with all parties involved, is that God knows our hearts, he knows what matters to us, and I pray he appreciates the struggle. Some decisions you make never knowing if you made the right one, that’s why they call it hindsight. Lots of times you never learn if a decision led to the “right” outcome, you made a choice, and now life just IS what it IS.
A good friend put it this way: At the end of the day, we are not as powerful as we think we are. It was such a perfect thing to hear. Together, Erron and I will chose the path we think we need to go down, and then it’s out of our hands. We don’t have control over much after that, our decision could lead to lots of different outcomes, and our lives are not quite as up to us as we want to tell ourselves. I will make a thousand more decisions that affect my family, and I have to keep believing God is the underwriter. He drives the plot line so the only decision I need to really focus on is, “Am I actively pursing a relationship with Him?” Waaaay easier said than done, I’m preaching to myself. But I’d like to point out that some pretty big players in the Bible made some really dumb decisions. God stuck around for them, so even if I get this one wrong, I’m counting on Him doing the same for me.
The Weig babies are back in swim lessons. Char is crushing it, (no surprise there) but Shep still has some fears he has to conquer at the beginning of every lesson. It’s hard to say what his fears are based on. Shep was scared of swimming even before his accident. The summer before he fell in I did Mommy and Me lessons with him in a backyard pool and they were a total disaster. If Shep is afraid of something, it’s a whole THING, until he alone decides he’s not afraid anymore. So, I’m not taken totally off guard by his apprehension over lessons, even though this is round two. But I do wonder if a memory has resurfaced. I always will.
While Sister napped, a tearful Shep and I discussed his upcoming lesson and I tried to get a read on him. He’s afraid of sinking, he says. “Shep…did you remember something about falling in the pool?” It’s not the first time I’ve asked him, but this time the conversation feels a little different so I decide the question is warranted. I gently push a little more than usual, trying to see if there is anything else my normally forthcoming little man feels like offering up. There’s not. It’s clear he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, so we drop it and look up funny videos of him and Char instead.
It dawns on me though: This won’t be the last time I’ll be blocked from crawling inside my child’s head to sort out what’s going on in there and make it less frightening. He didn’t want to let me in today, and that’s going to happen again…and again. I don’t love this annoying truth about motherhood. But’s a reality I am unable to change. I tell Shep if he ever wants to talk about it or ask us any questions, we are here and have some answers. I throw up a silent prayer that Shep will come to me if there’s something he needs to work through and I feel surprisingly better about the whole thing. I can model honesty, but I can’t force my kids to tell me things. Instead, I can consistently pray they will use me as a sounding board, and that I’ll be ready for it when they decide it’s time to start talking. For now, we’ll be sitting in bed watching slow-motion home videos. Not a bad way to pass the time.