Friday, July 8, 2011

Fraidy Cat Parenting in a Fraidy Cat World

Around 9p tonight, the issue of my old age turned 14.  I'm not sure what God was thinking 14.75 years ago.  Our older son was 6 at the time. He sidled up to me one day and said, "Mamma, are we gonna have any more babies at this house?"

I gently explained that God made some families bigger and some smaller. Looked like ours was gonna be one of the smaller ones. That was ok, tho',  because I loved him and his daddy, and they loved me. So, things were gonna work out just fine.  God must have snickered because at that exact moment I was 'in the family way' as they used to say.  I wouldn't know for many more weeks.  I would be almost 40 when he was born.

Ended up at the MD thinking I had an ulcer.  The MD was smarter than me.  He said, "Let me run some tests." He came back laughing.  It isn't an ulcer, but what you have will cause one in about 13 years. Might wanna start thinking of some names."

13 years later...the doctor knew whereof he spoke!
I sat in stunned silence and then began to mutter, "How did his happen? How did this happen?" over and over till he started looking at me like it might be time to call in reinforcements with some happy juice.

He looked at me quizzically, and said, "You are almost 40. You have a 6-year-old. You've been married HOW many years...and you want me to tell you how this happened?"

I looked at him blankly and said, "You don't understand. How did this happen?"  Like I said...God had a sense of humor pulling that fast one on me! I told my middle aged friends that they would be buying Depends and getting bi-focals while I was buying Pampers and baby food. Middle-aged morning sickness made me a lot less smug.

I went home and called the man I promised to love, honor, and procreate with to break the news.  He was out of town on a business trip.  When I asked him what he was doing in about 6.5 months, he was as obtuse as I had been at the MD's office.  After a while, it hit him. He let out a long slow chuckle and said, "You're KIDDING?"  I informed him the MD had seemed fairly serious. 

If you know the Old Testament story of Sarah and Abraham. You know she was too old to have a child when she had Isaac. She laughed at the idea when she heard the suggestion that a baby was in her future.  Given our stunned reaction, my husband's laughter, and my less than spring chicken status in life, I figured a name was a foregone conclusion. So, in an homage to Sarah, Abraham and Isaac, he was immediately Isaac which means 'laughter'.  Good thing he turned out to be a boy since we didn't have a plan B for names.

Rock on...the louder the better...
He has been an adventure right from that auspicious beginning. How do I count the ways?  Well, we can start with broken ribs 2 months before his birth. I had the flu. He was a tall drink of water even in those days.  There is all of 2.5 inches between the top of my hip bones and the bottom of my rib cage.  He just didn't leave alot of room for coughing.  I coughed. My rib cage expanded as much as it could and then popped. Good times. Good times.  NOT.

On the day of his birth, the OBGYN kept exclaiming during delivery, "Look at his legs! Look at his legs! No wonder your ribs broke. There just wasn't enough room in there for all of him."  Good one doc! I had figured that out already.  

Technology: It's intuitively obvious, Mom.
He has provided a lot of laughter along the way, that is for sure. Parents say no 2 kids are alike.  If you aren't a parent yet, listen to that sage observation. It's true.  Son #1 responded to discipline in a way that was every parent's dream. Oh, he's had his rough spots like all kids. Overall, he was eager to please and easy to raise. He was a rule follower. He was cautious in the way of 1st borns. He grew up loving classical music, the piano, and violin. He writes orchestral arrangements.He was no preparation at all for son #2.

Son #2 would be an anarchist if it were allowed in our family.  We took a vote. He lost. He wants tatts and navy blue hair. We indulged him a bit with those little books of rub on tatts you can get at innocent places like Cracker Barrel. We've avoided the blue hair so far. Our only hair requirement is that it must be a natural color and shorter than Cousin Its on the Adaams Family. We drive a hard bargain. The harder the head-banging metal, the happier he is. To him, piano and classical music might as well be chalk screeching on the chalkboard of his life. He's the Democrat to his brother's Republican. I can see it coming from here.

In his short life time, comparatively speaking, he has been headed toward careers including but not limited to: cartography (map making), professional poker player, Catholic monk (we are Reformed Presbyterian), world champion hang glider, hypnotist, chemist, and comic book writer.  On the days I can't keep up with him, I simply look at the heaven's and say, "What WERE you thinking?"

Dad and Poppy affirm Isaac's faith in Christ
I'm pleased to say he returned from his recent week at camp a new man. He had found a peaceful place to heal a bit from the bullying taunts of the last 3 years.  He had canoed and jumped into the lake from a trapeeze. He had reveled in paint ball combat. He shared his abundance by blessing a friend who lost a dad to cancer. He discovered he likes lattes just like his big brother. He engaged in his first public speaking foray by sharing what camp had meant to him. Apparently, 400 other campers gave him some sort of ovation when he opined that 'normal' is a fairly lame concept.  I won't regale you with HIS way of expressing it. Let's just say, for the sake of decorum, that my mamma would have probably brought out the Safeguard and engaged in a little wash, rinse, and repeat.  He came home stronger, more self-assured, and more resolute about who God is despite the fact that his own mom remains, at this moment, pretty confused about that subject.  He's had some highs and lows this last year. Camp was definitely a high spot.  How fitting that he wrapped up the year on that note.

As I type, I'm sitting in an uptown eatery that houses a Christian music venue on their upstairs floor. He's up there in the thick of things having the time of his life -- moshing to the beat with the heavy metal bands of the night.  The ambient noise bombards the eatery. The crashing waves of the drums relentlessly drive each song to its welcome (for me) conclusion.  I'm not sure how much more my brain or eardrums can take even tho there is soundproofing and industrial flooring between us. The things we do for love.

If you had asked me, when Son #1 was 14, whether he would fly around the world to China when he was 18, I would have asked you what herb you had been smoking.  There would not be, I would have guaranteed you, a large enough quantity of your herbs to keep me calm enough to endure that challenge to my fraidy cat heart. I reckon God would have snickered over that one too.  He seems determined to keep me guessing, doncha think?  I wonder what scheme he has up his sleeve to surprise me in the next 4 years.  Who will son #2 be then and what will he be poised to do?  Makes the fraidy cat in me tremble just a little.  Will he be a navy blue haired Christian metal rocker that plays poker and hang glides? Will he star in some show like Myth Busters so that he can enjoy using chemicals to blow things up? Will he remember how we spent his 14th birthday?

Wasn't this just yesterday?
I sit here tonight wondering where the last 14 years have gone. The days have been chewed up by one crisis after the other.  If there is such a thing as normal, my kids never had a chance to know it. A voice in my head says they are resilient and will be stronger, more well-rounded people with the capacity to care for others in crisis. My fraidy cat heart wonders if I was up to the task of being their mom.  Will I have enabled them to overcome the challenges life presented on a never ending cycle. Will I have planted the seed of faith deeply enough in their hearts that they never know the paralyzing fear that penetrates my heart? Will I have given them wings to fly far beyond the boundaries of my fraidy cat borders.  Will they rise up and call me blessed because I never stopped trying no matter how hard it got? 

I'm guessing a few of you know a little bit about the fears that are washing over me tonight. My job with these 2 fellas is almost done.  In 4 short years, I'll have an 18-year-old and a 25-year-old.  My oldest will be the age his Dad was when he was born.  Where did the time go, what did I do with it, and was it enough?

I leave you now with the words Isaac took to heart while at camp.  Come back tomorrow and bring a friend? It's a fraidy cat world out there, but we can overcome if we stick together, doncha think?

Micah 6:8  (NKJV)

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.


  1. Lynn...would that be me you are referring to..or Nancy? ;-)

  2. Remember his "monk" stage? I'll never forget that!

  3. hahahaha.... He was a contemplative monk... he could never be a silent monk. Silly Isaac.