What we hope for our children

It dawned on me recently how often verdicts are passed on your kid. Not like in an official way, but casually. Like when I was in the doctor recently, and the friendly nurse said, “We don’t see you in here too often! That’s a good thing…Sam is pretty healthy!” She said it as a compliment, and I took it as one, and puffed up like someone had told me they liked what I’d done with the living room, or for the marinade on the chicken. I remember thinking scornfully and a little pitifully about those other moms, the ones with the kids who are always sick. Poo. Even before the kid is the size of a walnut, we breathe a breath of relief when the heartbeat is good, and then when the organs are developing nicely, and when it looks like he’s coming on time, etc. etc. And of course now I love hearing the doctor tell me his lungs are clear, and his teeth are coming in nicely, and he’s staying perfectly on his growth curve. Secretly in my heart of hearts, if I fantasize about the doctors and nurses discussing us, they nod their heads, and their eyes sparkle, and they smile a little. What a perfectly developing little kid. She’s doing something right.
So later that week, (as I was blow-drying my hair, of course) it hit me. My thinking is way screwed up. And not just because it’s incredibly immature and superficial. You see, if I follow my logic out, the error becomes more obvious. What would a “successful” Sam look like, in the way I’m programmed to think? People would stop me, you know, in grocery stores, and tell me they can’t believe he knows what bananas are already. They’d compliment me on his motor skills, and he would always pass his hearing tests, and never get the diseases they warn you about, and always weigh the right amount, and eat five servings of vegetables (with a normal amount of distaste but then obedience). Later, his handwriting would be above average, and teachers would discipline him occasionally, but always smiling. He’d be good at sports, maybe break a bone or two while climbing a tree (like a finger, that would heal easily). Later he’d be the above average group in school. Probably a boy scout. He’d go to Chapel Hill, and enjoy it, but not too much. And then make something nice of himself, coming home frequently to see his wonderful mom.
That’s it. What I’m hoping for all these doctor visits, and everytime he falls down, and when we read alphabet books together. It’s not only ridiculously impossible, it’s deceptive. Would I really feel happy with that life? Is that my highest hope for Sam? I tremble a bit as I realize, no.
And a verse comes to mind. It’s not really a favorite, in the sense that I’d write it on an index card to pull out for comfort. But it’s good.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
So there it is. Those nurses will tempt you, but health and beauty and brains and safety home from every soccer game…well, I guess that’s not my highest ambition, really. I trust my little boy to his real Father, and hope that above all else, come what may, he will love Him. I hope he does.
But also, I REALLY hope he still wants to visit good old mom when he’s bigger. Is that too much to ask? 🙂

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