Relishing His Colors

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


8 thoughts on “Relishing His Colors

  1. Jules says:

    Such a sensitive, tender, honest post. A good reminder for every parent.

    BTW,glad I got to meet you at church on Sunday! My husband and I think the world of your in-laws. And Anna, you are even prettier in person!

    • Julie, it was a delight meeting you. I am so glad that we were able to. I think it is really neat how we were able to connect in that way. Thank you for your encouraging way. You are a special lady! Enjoy your weekend. 🙂

  2. What a great post! My hubby needs to relax, hoping he will learn they are children not adults. A hard lesson that we unfortunatly must learn before time runs out. YOu are an awesome Mom! your kids are very lucky. Sounds like you are raising one fine boy 🙂

    • Jennifer, so nice to hear from you. How are you and your sweet boys doing? I miss your posts and pictures.
      Parenting is tough. Just when you think you have it down pat, there is another lesson to learn. Much love to you and yours . . .

  3. Cameron St. Clair says:

    Oh, Anna…what a timely and thoughtful post. Thank you for the parenting encouragement–you are so right about not placing ridiculous expectations on our kids (perhaps especially our oldest?). I know we haven’t seen one another in a while, but we think of you often (I check your blog!) and I especially think of Julian because Price still mentions him and thinks of him as a friend. Recently, I found a photo of them together at our old house…they must have been 4 or 5. It warmed my heart. Many of your prayers and hopes for Julian are the same I hold for Price. Thanks for sharing!


    • Cameron!!! It has been way too long. Thank you for your words. We talk of your family frequently and reminisce about our days in Boone. It is so funny that you mentioned coming across an old photo. We stumbled upon one the other day as well. It was of your boys with Madelyn and Julian on our driveway with sidewalk paint. Obviously, so cute. March is quickly approaching and with it I always think of Price, Julian and Bryant’s birthdays. We must reunite this spring or summer and hang out. We miss each of you . . . sniff, sniff. Hug your crew for us.

  4. Gretchen says:

    Anna, I appreciate your honesty about yourself and insight into your precious little man, Julian. It was such a blessing to join you in celebrating this gift of yours. Please give Julian a big hug from his family here in St. Louis who love and miss him very much:) LOVE YOU!!!

  5. Daniel Kruidenier says:

    To Julian:

    Julian, beautiful art! I’m blown away. Keep at it. Maybe we can remember to bring drawing stuff to the beach trip in case we get some quiet moments. We still draw a good bit here. I’d love to see what you could do with the Hunting Island tropical forest, the lighthouse, or the skeletons of fallen trees cast along the surf.

    And, as a fellow oldest brother and son, you have my sympathies 🙂 It’s not easy. That’s a special position for select souls. It’s no accident you find yourself there.

    See you soon,

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