Warning: I'm going to use this space to do nothing but gush about my kid! I'm a mom, I have the right and it would be weird if I didn't, yes?
I've always believed that Andrew was a very special child. Not in just a typical way, but that there was a little something extra going on with him. And I know, what parent doesn't, right? I've never been able to quite put my finger on it, but maybe an understanding of things beyond his years. Or a sensitivity to people that would really allow him to do something great with his life.
Since we've moved away from family again, we've put ourselves out into the community a lot more. While we were in Texas, Andrew was just far too clingy to allow for many others to care for him, so I nurtured that. Aside from hourly care here and there, we didn't do much that required him to be in someone else's care. But coming here, I was determined. I needed to get more involved, not only for my own sanity, but for the boys' happiness and well-being as well. So not going to PWOC was not an option. Church was going to be a given every week. They were going to have to adjust.
And now I'm hearing how others are seeing Andrew and it's (one) making my heart melt and (two) causing me to become so much more aware of how I need/want to guard his heart.
Last night, we had one of Andrew's Sunday school teachers from church come over to babysit. Her and her sister have told me frequently how much they enjoy having Andrew in their class, so when I found out about an "optional" (ha!) function Trey had and that spouses were "highly encouraged to attend", they were the first people I thought of. Luckily, she was more than happy to do it.
When I got home last night, we chatted for a while and, I admit, I shed a few happy, proud tears while she was talking about our son.
At the start of Sunday school, they do praise time. They play music and let the kids sing and dance. There are younger and older kids together during this time, so while some (the younger) really enjoy it, some of the older ones are in that, "this is stupid" phase. Ms. J (that's what we're calling his teacher/babysitter) said that they use Andrew as an example frequently. That he just runs in there and dances like, forgive the cliche, no one is watching. That he is just giving his all to God and he doesn't care what anyone else thinks. That he is the epitome of having a childlike faith and sometimes encourages those older ones who may think it's a little silly to get up and dance anyways.
She told me about a little three year old girl that came in one morning for the first time. She was visibly scared and unsure, understandably. Andrew walked right up to her and said, "my name is Andrew, do you want to be my friend?". She took his hand and they danced together until is was time to go into their classroom. She sat down next to him and he then told the teachers that she was his new friend and he would help her do everything.
I was so speechless and taken aback. That is exactly the way I want him to be.
There are times when I pick him up from childcare from PWOC and they'll tell me a little something like how polite he was, or how he insists on helping them clean up.
I make it a point to do my workouts around him sometimes, because it opens up the whole living healthy conversations. Sometimes I'm visibly hurting or struggling, like yesterday. At three years old, he cares enough to stop what he's doing, come over and attempt to do the exercise with me and says, "Here mom, I 'll do it with you. Maybe then you won't hurt as much". It was all I could to not quit and just love on him.
There are just a very few examples, but they completely cover who he is. There are a few downsides to this.. like how sensitive he is. Super sensitive. It doesn't take much to make him cry. Which is totally fine here at home with us. But all of these qualities that I've praised about him, I'm afraid will also cause him to get picked on growing up. And really, that's fine. I know every kid, at some point, is going to get picked on. And for my kids, if it's going to happen, I hope it's because they are going out of their way to be kind. Or for being themselves, without caring what others think. Or for loving God totally and whole-heartedly.
It's been an eye opening experience to see how others view him. It's made me be very aware of what I want to pray over him about. I pray that his heart NEVER changes. I pray that if he faces criticism, that he has enough strength and faith to withstand it and not let it change him. I pray that he continues to love people for who they are, without giving it a second thought. I pray that God gives me the wisdom and the words to encourage all of these things in him. I just pray that I do this whole parenting thing right! He is a truly special person and I hope I never screw that up!