The moment I knew I was pregnant with a boy I went into immediate denial. No way could God give me, the oldest of four SISTERS a boy. What was I going to do with him? How do you dress a boy? How do you play with a boy? How do you raise a boy? More important, how was I going to raise a son? I was so in denial my baby shower was neutral and I even took two outfits to the hospital- a cute girl one and a boy one- just in case the doctors were right all along and I was actually having a boy.
My son was born at 5 minutes to 2 a.m. after a very long labor and delivery process. I held him. I loved him. And I knew he was God's gift to me. But in my heart there was still a struggle. I had a son and I loved him, but I still had no clue how to raise him into a man. I knew great men- and I named him after several- but I personally had no idea how to be a boy, a man or how one goes from one to the other, but ready or not the challenge was here in my arms.
We are thirteen years into this raising a boy adventure and it is hard. (Although truth be told raising the girl isn't sugar and spice either. Parenthood is a tough gig no matter how you spin it.) There are days I do my best, days I try to do my best and days I would really like to just be done already.
My son and I do not see eye to eye and often struggle to understand each other's point of view on life. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I set this whole struggle into place the moment I felt fear and frustration at being pregnant with a boy. Perhaps in my fretting and frustration I unintentionally created a feeling of not wanting him. A feeling of not wanting my son. A feeling that has created a depth to a rift that is keeping us apart and from connecting like I see so many other mothers and sons do.
I LOVE MY SON! I do not always understand him. Often we argue and they are loud, heated arguments, but once the dust settles and the blood dries there is nothing like hugging him and telling him I love him. I want so much for him. I see so much potential in him. I see his strengths. I see his weaknesses. I see his defiance and stubbornness holding him back. I want to make him embrace his strengths and potential and fight with him each time I try. If he would just spread his wings and fly he would soar and be a mighty and beautiful hunter, but he walks in defiance. I try to scoop him up so as to toss him into the air and he pecks and fights, hurting me, hurting him, so he falls back to the ground hurt by me, hurt by himself and again we walk both of us angry.
So what do I do? How do I know he knows that I love him? How do I raise this boy to be a man?
I wait. I teach. I love. I pray. I watch. And above all I remember that as much as I love my son, he was given to me by God, the same God who loves him so much more than I can even fathom.
God gave me a son. He gave me a chance to raise a boy into a man and through him learn and grow in ways I could not had he been anyone else. We will fight. We will cry. We will apologize. We will hurt. We will heal. We will love. And together we will live and grow and learn.