A little boy’s thoughts on heaven…..

I know each parent believes their child is unique and special. And the amazing part is, they ALL are! The miraculous part of God’s creation. Each of their little minds work in such different ways and it keeps life so very, very interesting.

I first figured out I needed to find my faith again when my oldest son posed a very simple question after being told he needed to behave–‘Why?’ Why indeed. What is the point? Why should I try and raise my children to be compassionate to others? Kind? Forgiving? To reserve judgement? Lord knows I am not the perfect example I want them to follow–not by a long shot! So began the humbling, pride swallowing trip back to church. Thank goodness for that child’s one simple question. Until then, I was able to deny I needed any presence in my life to guide me from right or wrong. The belligerence of a teenager took one conflicting experience and jumped to such a hasty conclusion. I am happy I was wrong. And it took the wisdom of a five year old to show me.

Even if I am still on a journey with my faith, it has been incredible watching my children build an understanding of God. A couple weeks ago, putting my girls to bed, my 7 year old, Piper, commented out of the blue ‘So, Mom, you know how childbirth hurts?’ Well, my dear, I am awkwardly caught between a fight or flight feeling. On the one hand, I am terrified to know where she was going with that loaded statement. On the other, where the heck is she going with this statement? So I humor her and reply, ‘Yes, honey, I am aware of how much childbirth hurts.’ “You can thank Eve for that, Mom!” Followed by a fit of giggles, because yes, childbirth pain brought the giggles out in me for sure. Of course I laughed and asked her how she knew that and was informed the Sunday Bible lesson was all about Adam and Eve and the consequences for eating the apple and being kicked out of the garden. Her little mind must have been humming applying all that happend so long ago to a very present, very real consequence of today.

And today, Cabel, my 6 year old asked me out of the blue why people killed God and hammered nails into his hands and feet. How do you explain that? Part of me worries I will give him the wrong answer. After a very sober little conversation, he sat quiet for a long time and asked me the question I believe he was truly concerned about the entire time. “Mom, when I die…..and go to heaven……do I have to wear a dress?” Oh, son. I told him he he could probably wear camo if he wanted.

As much as I get frustrated and want to tear my hair out and have anxiety over being a are we raising these children right, the laughter is such a blessed gift. I love how their little minds work. I love watching them put things together in their special little ways. I love that all their questions affirm the faith I am trying so hard to grow and trust in myself.

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I like the gray…..

Do you ever have the realization that you don’t really know that much about yourself? Perhaps it is a midlife crisis. One’s teenage years are so dramatic–everything is a big deal. So many life altering decisions in prepearation for the long awaited adulthood. And then it comes….ADULTHOOD. Issues that you theorized about in high school are very real and much more difficult to navigate. People get hurt. People get mad at you. You get mad at other people. I very much like the gray. It’s like that old shitty sweatshirt you never get rid of covered with stains, tattered sleeves and worn out spots but you love the way it feels, like a security blanket. It’s so comfortable. Why does everything have to be so black and white? Why do I have to take one side or the other? Why do I have to have an opinion that will make one person mad, the other dissappointed, and yet another scoff at my lack of backbone?

Here’s the problem. Children. I want strong, confident children. The realization that I could no longer avoid religion came crashing down when my first born questioned why he had to be good. ‘Because I said so’ was just so weak. And inadequate. Because I want you to go to heaven one day. Because I want you to be a strong moral character. I want you to know Jesus in your heart. I want you to be saved even if I doubt my own ability to be saved. With a Catholic mother and a father who claimed to be athiest, religion has been a little confusing. But I can’t be gray for my children. I had to decide.

Today I started homeschooling my two children. My 7 year old did well in school but this year really struggled with 2nd grade math. Her teacher kept saying she lacked confidence, which blew me away. This is the girl that doesn’t want to get off the stage at her piano recital. Who on the fly sang a solo in front of the entire church. Confidence?! We had so many conversations, her and I. She felt like she was just falling further and further behind. And she wanted to do well! I was unprepared for the passionate response. Everyone had an opinion. Everyone knew what was best for our children. I had no idea people would be so upset. She is my kid, after all. It was incredibly uncomfortable for a person who didn’t like to be in the spotlight at her own wedding. But for someone who is secretly slightly uncomfortable, still, admitting I believe in God, He always has a way of intervening that leaves little doubt. About to call it quits after the first couple hours because I couldn’t get my crap printer to print, the UPS showed up at my door with a brand new printer from the homeschool program. Three days before any of the other supplies are supposed to get here. And then after submitting my daughter’s math assessment, despite reaasureance from the public school that she was ‘on track’ and would be fine by the end of the year, it was decided that she needed to start at the beginning of 2nd grade and repeat the entire first semester in math. That’s it. I am no longer in the gray. That was confirmation of my fears and worries and validation that she needed intervention lest she become another child not left behind, and that I am doing right be here as her mother. The uncomfortable feeling of being judged by other’s no longer matters.

It is hard to look in the mirror and be left with a feeling of…..lacking. The gray has been my comfortable home for a long time. It is a place of non-decisions….safe emotion…..devoid of real commitment. But for my children, if I want to be the mother of my heart, I have to leave the gray behind. I have to address all those horrible passion filled issues that were just theoretical in high school. And I have to choose. Choose not to be a wall flower. Choose to stand behind my decisions. And that’s so scary cause even though I know that’s what I need to do for myself and my children, I still like the gray….