On being Nine

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*I wrote most of this on his birthday which was February 3, and I’m just getting around to putting the last few sentences on. He’ll forgive me, and I’ll forgive myself*

Oh my Josiah. I love you. Everyday is a new challenge for us to be united in life. This year I have found that I need to constantly remind myself to let him be himself. Messy, one-track minded, figeting and fiddling, full of extreme things to say, a love for all things big and bold, love of the screen and sweets. I can’t yank these things out of him, but I can train him how to enjoy the things he loves. But I also want to enjoy those things he loves with him.

This year, we have had big conversations with Josiah. The birds and the bees for example. I am so proud, extremely proud, of the men in my house. Joel took Josiah on an adventure with the purpose of telling him how everything works. Josiah responded with “Hmmm, that’s interesting.” Just his way, no mysteries or hidden desires. Just Josiah, and my heart is glad. Joel made it his point to be the one to talk to Josiah about this, not anyone at school. And he emphasized how it was a secret, just between the two of them. Josiah hasn’t said peep, he truly has kept it between him and Joel. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if he has forgotten, probably not. He has a mind like steel trap.

I’ve also had the pleasure of explaining several four letter words to Josiah, and I tried to emphasize how some hold more powerful content than others. That there are things you never, ever say, and I will not tolerate hearing him talk about it to anyone except to ask questions of his parents. And now, it is like we have a different type of freedom in our relationship. That if whatever we are watching on TV lets something slip, we have an understanding.

This understanding also passes to other forms of conversation. We can talk about things that are hard, concepts that are confusing. And because of this, he can talk more openly about things that disappoint him. It’s rare that something backs up on him and he doesn’t plow through it. There are things that he still deals with that are little boy things, they battle with his big boy mind. It breaks my heart in a million ways that he struggles at all. We have talked about taking an even more proactive role in his life and homeschooling. Not because we don’t love our school, but we love our boy even more. I feel I have just a little while, and then he will be listening to all the other voices that surround him.

But God has been so good to me giving me Josiah. He knew I needed a child that would keep me from getting lazy. My son needs me to be “on” all the time. Ready to answer questions, ready to listen to stories, ready to be social, ready to be silly, ready to touch straight down to the heart of things, and in less than 75 words. I know he identifies and “wants” to be with his Papa more, but it really doesn’t matter if I perceive it that way, or if it’s truth. I have to continue to engage him. I want him to love being around me too. We do have things that we love to do together, and when click, it’s like we remind each other of the 2+ years it was just me and him. Hang out time, lots of smiles, meeting people, feeding animals, singing along to songs, snuggling. You know, it hasn’t changed that much. Snuggling is a little harder with his bony elbows and knees, and he’s pretty tall 4’7″ to be exact. But when do snuggle, and I do remind him of that 2 years we had before Eden came along, he says,”I wish I could go back there, Mom”. I know he says it because he wants to be the center of all attention, but I also think it comes straight from his heart. He longs to be with a mother who is not distracted, who does nothing but spend time interacting with him. I think of the times I’ve said “Just wait til I get this done then we can…” I know I’m building his character, but what I wouldn’t give for those moments where my heart and mind are all his. I am flawed, and so is he, but what a mirror we are to each other. I need my son to help me be a better mother, and a better person all around.

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