Ezra’s disposition is such that he will cling to an idea or a correction and then he will refuse to let go of it. Ever again.
For example, one day LONG AGO Chris and Ezra went to the store together. It was a very windy day, and Ezra was wearing a hat, so Chris told him while getting him out of the car that he needed to hold onto his hat or else it would blow away.
Simple enough, right?
Well, five months later, Ezra still clamps down on his hat when we are walking to or from a store because he is convinced it will blow away if he doesn’t. Even if it’s not windy outside at all. He holds on to it so tightly that he has trouble walking, or even SEEING for that matter, because he shoves it down so far over his eyes and refuses to let go of it. It’s gotten to the point that now, even if he doesn’t have a hat on, he will grab onto HIS HAIR as if that will blow away too.
For five months we’ve been telling him that, really, it’s okay to let go of your hat. Or- you don’t have to hold onto your hair… IT’S NEVER GOING TO BE THAT WINDY. But he refuses to listen because he’s clinging to the instruction that Chris gave him so long ago.
It’s the same with him refusing to get out of bed on his own. This was great when he was younger, but now that he is older, we wouldn’t mind if he got up and played in his room for awhile in the mornings or came and woke us up in our room. It sure would be nice if he could run to the potty on his own in the middle of the night- a feat that he is perfectly capable of except for the GETTING OUT OF BED part. We got that little bed over a year ago- and I told him ONE TIME (one time!) that he couldn’t get out of bed at naptime- that he had to lay down and go to sleep.
He has never attempted to get out of it since then. EVER.
Some might see this as a stubbornness that is more than half-way to crazy.
I see it as something else… something that needs to be dealt with delicately through the years so it doesn’t get crushed or magnified- too much of either would be detrimental to him in the long run, I think.
He has an insanely acute desire to please the people around him- which is a nice trait in a toddler, but if left unchecked it could become a crippling crutch for him as a grown man. I want him to live from his heart- not from a heart that is trying to make everyone happy at all costs to himself.
I have lived from that place in the past and have NO DESIRE to go back. I will listen to God if He is whispering… even if the people I want to please most are screaming something different. Lesson learned. Moving on.
So, the way I see it, I need to SHOW Ezra how to live from this heart level… I need to SHOW him how to stand up for what he feels is right, even if it means stepping on the toes of the people in charge. But I also need to nurture that place in him that wants to make the people around him happy… I need to teach him compassion and how to give himself away (even if it’s only little bits at a time) to people who are hurting or in need.
Does this sound like an impossible magic act to anyone else besides me? How do you teach a human to be self-sacrificing without sacrificing his…self?
Lord Almighty, I need a whiskey sour right about now.
This parenting business is a lot like tightrope walking on a single thread of silk.
One thousand feet in the air.
While holding 1000lbs weights.
I think I’d have gone crazy YEARS ago if I wasn’t thoroughly convinced that I am not alone or left to myself to figure this all out. I know God is real because He has proven Himself very real in my life. And I know that He knows Ezra better than I ever will… that all I have to do is listen to the gut he gave me and we’ll all be okay in the end.
For now, I giggle and crouch down and tell my son that he doesn’t have to hold on so tight… that it’s perfectly okay to lose a hat or two or three to the wind.
And as I do, I feel a bit of me get swept up and away as well… the bit that worries if I’ll ever be good enough to be this delicate boy’s mamma.