Saturday, August 26, 2006
I used to think all kids were basically the same. Then I met Nate.
When he was a year old he climbed into the oven and pulled the stove down on himself. It wasn't hot but then again he was too smart to go near a hot oven. Then when he was 2 he pulled an electric radiator down on his foot. Again, it wasn't hot but it did cut his foot wide open. I butterfly stitched it and it healed but I was beginning to think God had picked the wrong person to raise this lightning-fast, super-active toddler. From the very beginning, Nate saw it as his duty to question and challenge his daddy's and my authority. It's hard to put into words exactly how exhausting and exasperating it was to have every "no" from us met with a tantrum. Hetee and I half joked that if we could survive Nate, we could get through anything.
When Nate wasn't getting into trouble he was giving things away. He still does. Just recently, at church, we talked to a little boy whose shirt was torn. I pointed the fact out to Nate and reminded him that we had so much to be thankful for. Nate said, "I wish I could give him one of my shirts". I remembered that I had an extra one in my backpack but that it was his favorite Dr. Seuss shirt. I told him and he asked me to give it to the boy. Nate then took some shorts out and gave them to the boy as well. It didn't matter to him that the children sitting nearby were gawking and making fun of him. He was strong-willed enough to do what he felt was right.
At that moment I saw, through the tears welling up in my eyes, that my son was turning into the little man I so wanted him to be, in spite of my fears that I was inadequate as a parent. I thanked God that Nate was a strong child and once again, right there on the church steps I asked for wisdom and strength to raise him to be a man of God. Some months ago a friend told me that God knew what He was doing when He gave Nate to me. Now I was beginning to understand.
Nate still has his moments. The other day he slipped away from Hetee as he was standing in line to pay the phone bill. Rather than risking losing his place in line, Hetee asked a lady from our church who happened to be nearby to go and check on Nate. After about 15 minutes with no news from either of them, Hetee paid the bill and made his way outside. There, standing next to our car was the lady (with a mortified expression on her face) and standing on the roof of the car yelling-- was, you guessed it, Nate! Apparently Nate was playing outside the building and when the lady, whom he didn't recognize, tried to take him back inside, he went to our car--the only thing that was familiar and climbed on top. No doubt a plan that made perfect sense to a 4-year-old.
These past few weeks we've noticed that Nate has been more willing to listen to reason and obey than ever before. It's such a relief to see a shimmer of light at the end of our long, dark "toddler tunnel". We know that God is working and that He is in control. We've also learned not to criticize our son or blame ourselves for the way he is. He's a strong boy, an awesome kid and he's our gift from God!