Our oldest, Julian, is approaching the eleven year mark. His birthday is next month, and I can hardly believe the rapid speed in which the years are passing. He is a little man. With his long arms and legs that seem to be ever growing, he is branching out and being a bigger guy in many ways. For example, with this newest addition to our family, he has been the most tender, endearing and affectionate Julian we have ever seen. He has opened his arms out more lately to embrace Scott and me. He has chosen ways to be thoughtful and a little more lighthearted. He has even shown us that resistance does not have to play a major role in his days.
Jules has been tricky to parent. At times I have wondered if I will continue to hold his heart or if he will slip away and succumb to endless selfishness, loneliness, and resistance. We have gone through many ups and downs. We have gone through periods of impatient parenting coupled with a super moody Julian. We have miscommunicated and failed to truly listen to one another. Scott and I have placed high expectations and seen the error of taking life so darn seriously and choosing the wrong things to get upset about. Julian, with his sensitivity and strong view of things being black and white, has struggled to move through his last few years with ease and joy. With his tendency to be on the irresponsible side of life, we have consistently been behind him pushing him to goodness, to care for others, to exhibit thoughtfulness for tasks at hand, and show responsibility for things, people, schoolwork, and chores.
I am so extremely thankful to type this post today with hope and praise for Julian. He has been aware of others, thoughtful about his responsibilities and less serious about life in general. In all the colorful ways I want him to experience life, I feel like he is, and he is showing himself more available and moldable. I see in his eyes the certainty that is he is loved, accepted and even celebrated. I see in his deeds that he is capable of compassion and unconditional love. I see the fruit of better parenting.
May he continue to grow.
May I listen to him and be his biggest cheerleader.
If any of you, as parents, feel like you are losing your child’s heart and you feel there is constant strife, there is hope. The change starts with you. Soften your heart. See your child as a child and and don’t set him up with expectations that are more suited for an adult. Loosen the reigns a little. Laugh more. Slow down. Look your child in the eyes when she is talking. Don’t interrupt. Hug him more. Praise her. Tell her you love her. Compliment him when you see goodness. Eat with your child. Try to say yes more instead of no. Choose to be patient instead of easily angered. See if your relationship changes. I think it will. Don’t give up.
I am studying him more.
I am paying more attention to his entirety.
I am delighting in him.
He is creative and needs to know I think he is.
He can be tender and affectionate. He deserves those two attributes from me daily.
He is unique. May he know he is irreplaceable and he is vital to our family.
All artwork by Julian