When a family has more than one child, sometimes one may remind you of another. Often for some strange reason similarity tends to go every other one in families. In my own family four girls are sandwiched between two boys. Some people would always say I look like Evie, and Renita - two years older than me - looks like Edith. Edith and Evie are twins, but our similarities still managed to go every other one. Evie and I are also more similar in behavior and thinking patterns. Well, at least sometimes. I will not claim it the whole way because fact is that she is older and wiser than I.
In our family the every other one has held true so far. For days before the appearance of Brent I honestly thought things would never change. The oldest gal and the younger gal in this family look similar and both started talking around one year old. Talk has been happening non-stop since. I am so used to going uh-huh or saying "yes", "oh," or "wow!" Neither are really mischievous. They both like to read, play games, and do puzzles. They are both disobedient, but what kids aren't? Unlike their middle sister, they can both sit quietly and entertain themselves. The middle sister, on the other hand, was opposite of all the above. The interesting combination was for one to have the imagination and the other to have the energy to put it to full effect. Why read a book when you could be grabbing at it? Really, why sit still for anything? Why not terrorize Mom by repeatedly going back to the same plant and grabbing it? Why stay around when you could run off the minute Mom turns her back? Why come down the steps slowly when you could come down by sliding two times faster? Why stay in a boring house when you could be with Dad if you got your point across in time? Why talk if you were understood by grunts and squeals?
Needless to say, the boring times are over again. With the every other one in effect the boy in this family is clearly making his place known. If there is no room for him he pushes his way in. His brashness overwhelms me some days. Multitudes of things take me back in memory. Though I realize that today is the now in my life...it reminds me of yesterday. It should be cute and occasionally it is. Other times it grabs me and hangs on. Normally likeness to a older sibling brings nice thoughts, memories, and everything is okay and life goes on. Likeness to an older sibling that is not here to look at brings me pain. Most of the time I smile thru my tears, and some days there are no tears. But it makes my heart beat faster. I wish they could feel the kinship that the other two have. Instead the boy is alone. Maybe no sibling will understand him.
This morning I watched as he walked to a mud puddle and sat down in it. Splashed thru it, kicking the water with his shoes. The other two would have carefully walked around it and maybe then thru it with boots on. Never sat down. He did, and didn't care about anything else. Only after he got cold did he care. He is like that. Just dive into anything and don't bother to think too much about the outcome. So much like the middle sister he will never know here. The brown eyes sparkle in the same way. They dance with glee when he dares me to try to help him understand why he should not pull on plants. They look longingly up at me when he wants to be picked up. It takes me back a few years. But no, today is now and I am living now. He is a boy, not a girl.
At suppertime the husband eats, and then is finished. He grew up in a family of four boys, so eating is what you do at the table. By the time he is finishing the last thing on his plate, the girls might be starting. Okay, stretched relative to some days, but other days real to life. The boy in the high chair beside him eats in the same fashion. Just stuff it in. Goodness, forget the spoon; that takes too much time. It takes me back. The other one was a girl but so much like her dad on this subject. How well we remember when she started showing up her sister at the table. Let's just say mealtime speeded up a few notches. But no, today is now and I am living now. He is a boy and not a girl. But it is the same manners. Likeness. It takes me back.
In utero this boy's mother was in emotional pain. I well remember the doctor explaining to me that this child will probably be a bit unique. I didn't know what that meant. I am learning. Strangely this child I carried while coming out of the stages of deep mourning does not know how to handle pain. Pain of any kind. I am learning to tread softly. Like the other day he slyly opened the office door and quietly took my sharpest material scissors out of my sewing drawer. Motherly instinct tells me to run after him-right? I do and take it from him and he goes cold turkey. Only a cup of water on the head brings him back. My mother heart races. My knees knock and the red blood in the veins turns blue too. My whole body screams code blue. I shake from from the hairs on the top of my head to the size eleven toe on the bottom. I just shake, because the likeness of this son going cold turkey reminds me of his middle sister totally limp and blue in my shaking arms. Same effect on me. Knees knocking. Adrenaline rushing. Mother heart pounding. Only this time my brain is normal. Oddly normal. Yes, it is upset and my mind is racing. But it doesn't dream the worst outcome. As for the knocking knees, they calm down again after several hours. The adrenaline comes back in two days instead of three weeks. Amazing...and I am grateful for feelings of wholeness through the ugly flashbacks it brings to my brain.
Some days the likeness taunts me. So oddly this son who brings to my remembrance his deceased sister. So odd this son who in utero obviously learned that pain is hard. So oddly this son who I carried while experiencing grief now spazzes over a scissors. This son who God gave to us as a reminder of mountaintops is teaching me things about myself and my knocking knees. He is calling me to teach him better pain management while I myself am learning more emotional pain management. I feel at a loss and realize that I do not know how to do this.
Frankly this last likeness he causes in my brain just brings me to nothing.
Nothing, empty and void of ideas or positive thoughts.
Empty and wrung out I stand before the cross again waiting. Sometimes patiently and sometimes not so patiently for Jesus to fill me. I want to learn. Learn and grow to be more Christlike even if it is thru whatever life is bringing.
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A seasoned mother once told me that energy is not wrong in children. It is just a challenge to get it all channeled in the right direction. I believe the same applies to this. I do not desire to stuff my son's strong perception of pain, but I do desire to help him keep from turning blue.