“He’s a junior already?” she asked. “Wow. Just one more year to mold him and then he’s outta there! Are you ready?”
“Oh no,” I said, but I didn’t explain what my oh no really meant. Oh no, I’m not ready for the baby of our three to leave- and I don’t have to be. He’s not done cooking yet. Almost, but not yet. He’s at that jiggly stage, like the chocolate pie in our oven last night, firm around the edges, sweet with just the right amount of salty, but still a little wobbly. He needs a little while longer in the safety of our oven to let him firm up, so that when that first slice is cut, he doesn’t ooze all over everything and lose track of who he is.
Okay, enough of the pie analogy. It’s making me hungry and the men-boys I live with finished it up twenty five minutes after I stuck the pot holders back in the drawer.
I also say oh no to the idea that I was molding him at all.
Guiding? Yes. Giving lots of direction and plenty of boundaries (both soft and hard) for him to bump up against as he learns all the coping skills he needs to know, as he gets his feet under him and feels how strong he is inside. We’ve taken off his training wheels, mostly, so he has another year to fall and slip and skid while we’re close enough to come running if he needs it.
But I don’t want to mold him.
When we mold people, we run the risk of crushing their tenderest parts. I’m not a master sculptor so I’d hate to limit anyone by my own ability / disability. Most of all, I want my youngest to be true to the person God created him to be. I don’t know exactly who that person is yet, but I’m confident that he will find out. Anyway, eventually molded people get so uncomfortable living somebody else’s life that they break out of the mold and end up fighting the way back to their true selves. Why would I want to slow him down?
So how do we help unfold these people we’re lucky enough to call our own for a while?
We listen. We affirm. We watch for what brings him joy and we say, “Yes, please, let’s have more of that!” We do the best we can at giving him opportunities to try things that he finds interesting, both easy and hard. We help him be brave when he needs to be and to say no when needs that too. And we step back and watch the miracle, cheering him on.
And we talk to God, under our breath, all the time. ALL THE TIME. We say thank you, thank you, thank you, and help me, help me, help me. And Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, what do I do now?
Peace to you as you watch the unfolding happen around you!