To my brightly burning gift, at five and a half

Dear Owen,

I can only imagine the twinkle God had in his eye when he thought up you. He was on a wild hare that day. Something amazing happened, he was in a boisterous mood and felt inspired to create something out-of-the-box. It’s like he decided to improve on an older model. He was going to give you every bell and whistle, then a few more quirks just for fun and to keep me guessing.

You are whip-smart, handsome as a prince and boy howdy, full of passion. Just today, you yell-cried for a full six minutes because a wheel fell off a remote control car I’m sure you hadn’t played with for a year. We don’t even know where the remote is. “BUT I WAS JUST STARTING TO PLAY WITH IT!” you wailed.

Earlier today, I could see your face fall when Target Guest Services didn’t have your camouflage tank car in their lost-and-found, the one you had lost when you were walking along with me on grocery day, driving it behind boxes and containers on the shelf until you forgot where you had parked it. I swear we looked behind every box of pasta and bag of rice they had, but it had just disappeared. “We’ll check the lost and found next time,” I’d said, which helped you ease off your gathering storm. But today when they didn’t have it, you were sad, then embarrassed for feeling sad, then mad, then angry, then defiant. You pushed the cart, got in the way, growled. We stopped for a big hug between the two automatic doors while Benjamin kicked his shoes off again, then I changed the subject and kept on rambling until something caught your attention and you took a deep breath and moved on. Because that’s often what you need now — redirection. You tend to dwell. I think you get that from me. (Sorry.)

I wonder if the remote control car incident all started at Target today. I wish it was always so easy to trace your behavior back to a hurt, because I know that’s where all your big, emotion-filled behaviors start. I wish I could make it better.

I wish it were easier on you, but the fact is you’re still vying for your spot as the baby of the family. You had nearly five years in that spot, and you’re not giving it up without a long, drawn-out fight. I know you’re just asking who you are to us, where you fit, if there’s still enough love for you. I’m still figuring out how to be a mom to three humans, and honestly, you’ve been the toughest nut to crack in the whole equation. You’ve had the most adjustment, and you get the most misunderstanding from me.

I’m praying for a greater wisdom, for both of our sakes. For God to remind me to shrink down, crawl into your five-and-a-half-year-old mind, to bend low to enter into the heart of a boy who’s just longing to know his momma still loves him, who needs consistency and love and affection maybe more than anyone. I’ll ask our friend Jesus to help me connect with you first — with eyes, with gentle hands — before I talk at you or address your behavior.

One of my greatest hopes is that you’ll grow into a man of integrity who still retains the wild passion that has defined your boyhood so far. I hope God helps you let go of the perfectionism I’ve accidentally passed on to you, and that we both learn what God really means when he says that his grace is really and truly free, and all we have to do is ask for it. I hope we both learn how to ask, and then to really, really receive it deep down.

Thanks for being you. Jesus is going to help me be thankful for even the stuff I don’t get about you. I really love that I get to keep getting to know you our whole lives long.

I love you, buddy. Always.

Linking with Heather and Kristina.

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3 comments on “To my brightly burning gift, at five and a half

  1. Beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. You are doing a great work.

  2. Apple says:

    Beautiful! Just Beautiful! 🙂

  3. Kristina says:

    Wow, Kim. Wonderfully worded and poignant as well. Cuts straight through, my dear. Keep it up…both the writing and the raising.