Tanner is having a tough week.
Or perhaps I am having a tough time with Tanner this week.
Yes, that's more like it.
At church Sunday, a long-distance friend visiting, saw him, and exclaimed,
"Tanner, when did you become a boy?"
Raising my shoulders to my side-tilted head, I laughed.
But then I looked at him.
I took a
And standing before me, in his big-boy flip flops and plaid shorts, indeed, was a boy.
Who is almost four.
And is trying on his big-boy, independent spirit.
A spirit bursting with questions, creative story-telling, selfishness with his younger brother, and specifically this week, a plethora of
I don't want to's!
I don't like that!
running away from me.
Down the hall, where he jumps on his bed, his face buried in his striped surfer pillow, his curls framing the back of his head.
And he lays there, refusing to meet my eyes.
And it makes my blood boil.
Who is this boy?
For me, this has been a week of hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute prayer.
For seeing Tanner's heart through God's filter, not my frazzled mom lens.
And I see that this boy, my Tanner, is paving his way, he's testing his boundaries, he's seeing how far he can push me before I react,
or make a testing moment much bigger than it needs to be.
So these days, I'm praying a lot.
And I'm not chasing him down the hall when I call for him.
I'm trying to wait patiently in the kitchen,
for him to follow my voice
and come back to me.
And he always does.
Sometimes it takes longer than others, but eventually he comes.
And I've been able to kneel down at his level, which I fear, will pass mine shortly,
and stare into his deep pale blue eyes, and see what God sees.
This boy, this Tanner, is a child searching for love and security.
In those seconds, when my blood is rising in my throat, and I'm fighting the over-riding desire to yell at him to 'listen'
I instead hold him, and ask him to look inside at his own heart and tell me what he sees.
Is it a heart that's listening, not just to me, but to God's Voice?
Is it a heart that desires to obey, not because he'll get in trouble, but because it means the best outcome?
I take his hand, which is bigger I notice, a hand belonging to a young boy, and together, side by side, we walk down the hall,
I lift him into his bed
and I pray over him,
that he will have a heart that listens to his Heavenly Father.
And his eyes, heavy from exhaustion, and his brain, tired from thinking up fighting words, relax.
I watch his chest move up and down, his eyelashes reaching towards his toes, his curls sweaty on his forehead,
and I see my baby, in the form of a boy,
needing to know he is loved
regardless of his actions
regardless of his hurtful words
regardless of his challenging eyes
He needs to know that I will always be here,
standing in the kitchen,
calling for him,
waiting for his pitter-patter of feet, coming from down the hall,
to hold him, and remind him
that I love him