Wednesday, December 8, 2010
last friday night we loaded up lil and oz and headed downtown to the SLO christmas parade. we found our seats on the curb and cuddled up as the floats began. it was a parade like any other until this one float came up. i don't even know what it was for, maybe boy scouts or something. all i know is that there were lots of little 6-9 year old boys on bike's. it was un-remarkable until, peddling up, came a boy on one of those recumbent bikes. he was riding right along the edge getting high fives from all the kids sitting on the curb. he was pretty stoked cruising through town high fivin' it up. i smiled as i watched and as he rode by i looked up and a few feet behind him was his mom who had this look of sheer joy on her face. if you could bundle up a heart bursting with pride and joy and satisfaction, it was being displayed on her face. this would have been something i probably wouldn't even have noticed if i hadn't first recognized the boy. i've seen him around parks, the elks, the kids museum- all the places i often frequent. i don't know what his physical disability is, but something about his legs is severely compromised. just to walk looks like a struggle. so for him to be able to ride a bike just might be a small miracle. the irony is that every time i see this boy like i did that night, he is always smiling and running and laughing- even if it is a struggle.
but tonight was different. tonight he was like every other boy he was riding around with. tonight his mom saw him with his friends and amongst the people and no one was staring, or laughing or wondering what was wrong with him. tonight he was 'normal.' i've heard it said that when you have a child with disabilities whether it be mental or physical, it will always be harder for the parent then the child. as parents we have this crazy overwhelming desire to see our kids thriving, succeeding, healthy and most of all, happy.
that night i also was sitting with a few couples who had just had their first child. they were taking pictures, and smiling, attentive to every need or want their baby had. it made me remember those days. i guess in a way i'm still in them with tali, but there is nothing like your firstborn. with the first, you see everything. you watch, you study, you just marvel. i don't think any of us had the foresight to know how crazy in love we would be.
reading this the other day helped me put it all into words, 'their hearts were wrung with anguish, the anguish of having children, a vulnerability as astonishing as the capacity for love that parenthood brings, in a cuff link set all it's own...'
i never knew how vulnerable having children would make me. i also never knew how my desire for them to be happy would supersede everything. what i've been realizing is that when i think about my kids being happy, i have these preconceived notions about what it should look like. naturally the first thing would be good health, that they would also be smart, attractive, find a career, love and one day a family. ideally they would experience as little hurt and pain and injustice as possible.
but when i stop and think about my own life and think about what has brought me the most joy and happiness, the one thing that has shaped my life more than my parents or life experiences, i recognize it wasn't any sort of choice i made or path i took. it was the day i realized i was made for so much more. the day that i took that leap of faith setting in motion a chain of events that singlehandedly gave me EVERYTHING i treasure and hold dear to today. it was the day i came to know jesus.
i see him when i look into my babies eyes. i experience his mercy when i feel the touch of my husband. and when i take the time to see the face looking back at me in the mirror i am reminded that its truly by grace alone that i have been granted the greatest joy and peace and happiness i could ever want. how could i not want that same thing for my children?
so god please forgive me for seeking temporal worldly things for my kids. forgive me for esteeming my ideas of happiness over your salvation. remind me that when i lay my head down to pray at night that i would merely pray for you to grant them the grace that you have, and continue to afford me.