My 21-month-old son is the light of my life. He is kind, loving, giving and he takes a three hour nap everyday without fail. He is a quiet, gentle soul that speaks to me in ways I cannot explain. He shares his toys without hesitation, he freely gives hugs and kisses and wants nothing more than my love and attention. I, on the other hand, have a huge personality and practically bounded out of the womb dancing and singing. My husband and I wonder repeatedly how this sweet soul was ever created from the combination of our candid and mildly abrasive DNA.
I hesitate to even write this next part, for fear of sounding like a “tiger mom” or worse have it seem like I am less than enamored with any aspect of my sweet son. But, over the past few months, I’ve wished my son were a little more fearless.
It took my little one 17 months to muster up the courage to walk. He doesn’t run, jump or climb and he is thoughtful and cautious at the playground, and with everything he does. Just last week he was pushed down the slide by a burly 10-month-old girl. He sat at the bottom, tears streaming as she whizzed past him at twice his walking speed. And instead of scooping him up and smothering him with kisses and Mama fuss about how that little girl shouldn’t have pushed him, my husband and I looked at each other and laughed. We laughed after our twig of a boy was manhandled by a chick half his age.
I know we must seem like insensitive parents and while most days I do assume the role of “helicopter parent” or “referee” that afternoon I just wished my kid would haul off and push someone. I wish he would snatch back a toy at playgroup, instead of passively finding something else to play with. I want him to explode with giggly energy; running, jumping and playing until he passes out from exhaustion. After a day where he’s been pushed, shoved and had every toy he tried to play with ripped away by another toddler, I sit and pray for the strength to not strangle another mother’s child.
And then I hate myself a little for wishing mine was different.
My son’s middle name is David, and it serves as the common thread between his English and Hebrew names. David is the name of his paternal grandfather and just like the hero who triumphed over the mighty Goliath, our son–who almost arrived 12 weeks too soon- emerged from the womb with a strong shout even before the umbilical cord was cut, proving the strength and determination of his small spirit. I sat around wondering how this boy, namesake of a glorious King, could be timid and bullied.
To ease my troubled mind I re-read the story of David and Goliath. This time, the story spoke words I had long forgotten and my heart leapt a million miles when I read, “With his youthful age and poetic soul, David was not regarded as a warrior at all.” And when David stood before a skeptical king who asked if he was able to defeat the mighty Goliath, David answered, “I trust in God to fight the battle for me.” And David set forth to conquer the giant with nothing but five smooth stones, a sling and a willful heart.
My son encompasses the very essence of David. He is not a warrior of the playground; he is a youthful and poetic soul. His heart will lead him and when the time comes that he needs to show his strength and might, I have no doubt that he will be victorious. My heart is at peace because these scriptures have taught me a lesson in parenting. I need to trust in my son, and be watchful of him but when he is incidentally pushed or has meaningless playthings stolen away without notice; this tiger Mama will hug her boy and let God fight the battle for me.