Thoughts on a Big Day

My son turned two yesterday! I don’t have anything particularly insightful or clever to say about it. I am your standard parent – completely baffled that he managed to get through two years safe and sound and smart, before I managed to blink.

Today’s blog doesn’t have much to do with that, though. I just wanted to brag about my great big beast of a boy. Today’s post is very simple. All I really have to say is this: my son is not mine.

Almost everyone I know has this concept of very young children “belonging” to their parents. I don’t know if this is specific to America or our time in history, or if it’s worldwide and historical. But I certainly had it in my head, and even after really thinking about it, I still have that instinct.

{I suppose in a way it’s good; I think of that saying that having children is like having your heart move around outside your body, and now as a parent, that really resonates. If I didn’t think of Ean as something as close to me as my heart, I wouldn’t have such a strong instinct to protect him. Also this post has nothing to do with biology; apart from the thing about uteruses a couple paragraphs down, everything I’ve said or will say is just as true for an adopted or stepchild, and I know that from experience.}

We don’t think of ourselves as belonging to our parents, right? (Again, I don’t know the cultural or historical truth of that.) We are independent people. We make our own choices. We adhere to our own beliefs. We have quirks and flaws and glowing qualities which have nothing to do with our parents.

And yet, we apply that idea to young children. I don’t think I was any less myself when I was two than I am now. And I’m positive that I was no less unique before God. As a mom, though, it took me several months to consider my son an individual, rather than something my body had made for me and out of me. I thought of him as “a little piece of me and my husband.”

*eyebrow furrow* Which he’s not.

{I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t value the God-ordained parent/child relationship. There’s a difference between independence, as it’s treated in our culture, and individuality. By independence, I mean “not needing anyone” and “finding your happiness within yourself.” Whereas by individuality I mean equality, uniqueness, and value. It means the way God created us and sees us. A child’s (or parent’s) individuality does not detract from the beauty of family relationships – in fact, it enhances it.}

My child is only “mine” in the sense that his care has been entrusted to me. He is a completely distinct person, one God conceived of long before the world began, and for whom God has an equally unique plan. Where do I come into it? Well, Ean needed a uterus in which to develop enough maturity to breathe air. After that, he needed someone to nurse him and help him learn when to sleep and to keep him warm. As he grew, he needed help learning to eat and walk, someone to read him books, someone to drive him to the park. Someone to love him and show him how to love. He needs someone to tell him about God and will need someone to teach him math and how to be a strong, godly man.

I was handy for the job (as was my husband); I don’t know the specifics, but within His own design, God decided that we would be a good match for Ean. And so when he was created – by God’s choice, not ours – we were the ones entrusted with the task. The three of us were united as a family. We seem very different right now, but we won’t for long. Pretty soon our differences will fade. Before the throne of God, all of us will be as obviously equal as we have always been in truth.

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