Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Special Little Guy

Leigh Berry was always the "good kid". The little girl who kept herself in order, was nice to others & quite honestly, was a bit of a "narc" when it came to the behavior of my peers. I expected others to pull it together and act like decent human beings. I made my first bit of spending money babysitting (at homes and church functions). As the care-taker I once again had expectations about behavior. If those expectations weren't met, I judged. I JUDGED HARD. Your parenting sucked a big toe if your kid couldn't tow the line or acted strangely. As a teen and young adult, I didn't understand why parents couldn't teach their kids basic manners.
Then I had kids and because God likes to show us our own ugliness & sin, God gave me the kid that doesn't always listen in public places like say, Sunday School.
Ahhh, yes. This is about what I looked like.

Josiah Andrew Brewer came into this world after a 14 hour labor and then C-Section (that's a blog for another time). He was a surprise to begin with and a difficult baby, taking 3 weeks (and a couple of helpers in my mom and Cameron)  to learn how to properly breastfeed. He didn't sleep through the night unless he was beside me (I hated when people asked me if he was. NEWSFLASH: BABIES AREN'T MEANT TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT). He wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. The first couple months of his little life, I slept sleeping straight up in bed, Boppy pillow around my now stretch marked belly, one boob hanging out. The dang kid had enough piss and vinegar in him to walk at 7 1/2 months. Have you bever seen a baby that size walk? It's a little freaky. I once had a fellow Target shopper ask if I had given birth to a dwarf. Awkward for all parties involved.

See, it just looks weird. 

 Josiah is passionate. This is a one word term for me to say that he's full of it. Whether it's good or bad. Example: When Josiah was 18 months old, he was staying with my parents and saw one of those awful/effective Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercials. Her turned to my mom, eyes full of tears and started bawling for all of those abused animals. He did not stop crying for thirty minutes. Another example: Josiah, at about 3, distraught after leaving Disneyland (because you know, we never go back. Actually, we're there all the time) decided to unbuckle himself and attempt to open the car door. On the freeway.

See, he's passionate. Like Van Gogh with an ear to spare.

Pictured: PASSION.
He's about 2 months old in this photo.

A few Sundays ago, we went to retrieve our children from Sunday school. We were greeted by a friend who happens to be one of the children's ministry volunteers. She let us know that Josiah was difficult kid this particular Sunday. He had fallen in with a couple of boys who just started attending church and were rough housing. She even mentioned that we should have been called because he wasn't listening. In my own head I felt things exploding, walls crumbling, me falling to my knees. In my brain, at that moment, every other parent was doing a better job than me. Their kids sat quietly, had the maturity of an 18 year old honor student and never got in trouble. Not only was my son acting like a turd in CHURCH, he was doing so while some of our friends watched him. Jesus shook his head at me. "Tsk, tsk perfect attendance at AWANAs girl." To add insult to injury, Cameron had tear down duty. We sat in the hallway of shame as many friends walked by. I'm sure they were all judging my own personal parenting skills. I'm sure. I was embarrassed. FAILURE stamped my heart. I made Josiah wait in the hallway, then I made him go out and look at the prom set for Glee. That should be enough of a punishment for any little boy.
"Look at it boy and know the depth of human depravity! Repent of
your Sunday school sin!" 

 Earlier in the month, I found out that Josiah had really bad cavities. That's obviously not my son's fault, but damn if I wasn't feeling like a nominee for Courtney Love Mother of the Year Award at that point. I started to unravel. I stopped blogging. I stopped updating my Facebook with cute little quotes I gathered. THERE WAS NOTHING CUTE HERE TO KNOW ABOUT.  I had a difficult child with a black tooth and cavities. I looked at other blogs and Facebook pictures, cute moms who weren't overweight like me, kids in perfect outfits, kids winning awards in activities. Here I was, the mom without a driver's license with the terrible kid who would rather talk Doctor Who than play baseball. It's just been a rough couple of months with my passionate child.
Josiah Brewer, future Bill Haverchuck.

I tossed around the idea of a blog entry about my experiences with Damien from The Omen child. The longer I kept it to myself, the bigger the problem. I started stressing about Kindergarten, I dreamt of  a Ms. Krappable calling me about my own Bart Simpson. I have in fact called Josiah "My special little guy" since the day he was born. If you know anything of The Simpsons, you know this is what Marge Simpson calls Bart. I was the harbinger of my own doom. Tonight, with my Motown spotify blaring, I dug in. I blogged about the ugly side of parenting.
The only difference is that he's not a wanted criminal in Australia...yet.

Blogging can become this lens to see other's parenting skills. Often, that lens can be smeared with Vaseline to erase the wrinkles and ugliness. Tonight I had to let down my guard, let everyone know that I'm aware of my son's behavior. In that I have to let go of my own pride, desire forgiveness for my judgement of others and ask Jesus to take complete control of parenting. I'm going to lay my hopes and needs bare. I want my children to be good. Not because of morals, not because you get extra points for being the kid with all the answers in Sunday school, but because they love Jesus. That's a tightrope to walk. Raising your kids to love Jesus, not to love rules.

  I would like to sum this all up nicely. Have a bird write with ribbon in cursive "...and they lived happily ever after...". That's not going to happen. Parenting is every day. It's different, it's gut wrenching and it's joy. I'll let you know in about 15 years how it all turns out with my special little guy.
Ain't nothin' but a G-thang.


Molly said...

Your honesty comes across so beautifully, especially in light of the fact that we are all so desperately in need of the Gospel. I'll be storing this away for future parenting advice and take a moment now to be honest with my own hang ups and sin. Thanks Leigh!

good+hardy said...

I love this. Thank you for being so honest and not sugarcoating the reality of parenting - that things don't always go as planned. I find myself questioning my legitimacy as a parent when my boys don't fall in line like I hope (they, too, have been pulled out of Sunday School...) - good for you for digging in and coming out with this lovely and truthful perspective.

P.S. This makes me think of Liz Lemon buying all the hot dogs. I love rules, too. ;)

Leigh Brewer said...

When Liz Lemon bought all the hot dogs, I thought to myself: Atta girl! :)

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