Friday, August 31, 2012

{Hard} Lessons Learned

I'm not sure I will ever forget his face, or the soft quaver in his voice.

"It's gone, Mom."

"Are you sure?  Did you look everywhere?"

He nodded as he tried to keep it together, eyes filling with tears.  His shiny, brand new bike from his birthday, gone.  Stolen.  I winced and watched him hastily wipe the back of his hand over his eyes and shrug out the door, grief bending him near double.

My heart ached for him, and I'm sure he felt even worse.  This bike was something special, something we could not simply replace.  Something his Dad and I saved for, wanting to give him something quality that would last.  I imagined it being handed down to little brothers.  Now, gone.

Watching a child in pain is one of the hardest parts of being a Mother.  Desiring to shield them from hurt is a natural, appropriate reaction for parents.  But sometimes, letting the sting of life teach them has a place as well.

We talked it over.  He was incredulous that anyone could see something that wasn't theirs and take it, just like that.  "Mom, don't they know the 10 Commandments?"  Oh, child.  How simple, how black and white the rules to this one.  Don't steal.  It's as easy as that.  I suggested maybe they didn't know.  Maybe a little boy who never had a birthday present his whole life saw it and took it.  Maybe someone who's parents didn't bother to teach him right from wrong.  I can see him turning it over in his mind.

A few days later, when a neighbor generously gifts us a bike and his spirits have lifted, we're still not done gleaning all the wisdom  to be learned from this experience.  While some of them are harder than others - notably, seeing my child lose just a bit of his faith in the goodness of all people,  others remind me that even in the midst of trials, God pours on his love by growing us.  Even in the dark places, with His light, we can grow.  And while we keep talking and keep wondering and keep learning about turning the other cheek, generosity, people before things and forgiveness, I can see something amazing happening.  His sadness melts away and is replaced by compassion and strength.

It all reminds me that this thing called motherhood is more than cuddling and nursing and singing and playing. It's more than keeping things light and easy and protecting our children against every storm.  Sometimes it means standing beside them while they weather the worst of it, and helping them to walk through to the other side, reaping the benefits of hard lessons learned.  As my children grow, I know there will be more moments like this.  Knowing this, I prayerfully hope to grow right up alongside to see them safely through it all.

He wakes early on these last few days of summer vacation, and quickly picks up his room, makes his bed, kisses me lightly and is out the door.  I see him whiz by the window on a bike he now carefully locks up each night, a blur of boyhood in summer.  Somehow, he seems older these days, wiser.  But in the early morning light, what I notice more is his quiet strength as he pedals down the street.

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  1. Oh dear sweet boy! These are the hard, hard and yet, somehow sweet and good parts of mothering--watching them grow, learn, struggle, love.

  2. That is very hard, a lesson he will remember for sure, to lock it up. Trust broken and now he understands that not all people think the same.
    Hopefully he won't see it in a local neighborhood.
    You are right being a parent is more than feeding and clothing and making sure they are safe. It is the emotional 'training and teaching' that comes along with the duty.
    You are doing good.

  3. Oh, this hurts. Poor boy. Brave mama.

  4. Oh, this is a tough one. Such hard lessons for our little ones to learn and even harder to watch them go through it.

  5. Oh this is so sad to read. I could just see the broken heart, the desire not to cry and the need to understand. We never fully understand just walk by faith. So glad a neighbor had a bike he could have. Tough lessons for boys and mom's.


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