I kid you not, I almost wrote, "how did this boy turn 3????" Well, he's not 3, he's now 4. I tell ya, when will I ever be able to keep my kids ages and birth dates straight? Probably never.
But seriously, soon he will be marching his own two feet into his kindergarten class. Some days it seems like forever and an eternity away....and then there are days, like today, where I could cry, it seems to close.
But I'm going to get real, like really really real. I have sat with this half written blog post open on my computer for the past month. I could not bring myself to write about my Bennett boy...because we were in a thick fog of hard. There were days I felt completely and utterly defeated.
Days I wanted to throw in the towel.
Days....I kind of did.
Days that I spent more time crying and feeling like yes, I have finally lost my mind.
Days I actually convinced myself that I am really not made for this mom thing.
So, here this blog post sat until I could clearly articulate (or try) this season of life with Bennett.
This boy, gosh, I love him dearly, and so much that it hurts. BUT he hurts my pride, he pushes me to the max of where I never thought I could go. He digs deeper and further than any of my boys. And he is so much like me...mostly in the areas I dislike the most about myself....but it's like a reflection of my own downfalls and sinful nature. Yet, there is beauty. Sometimes it is a bit harder to see...but it's there and it's amazing and wonderful and all things God intended.
Allow me to give you a glimpse of a typical morning. We now have to drive Cole to school ever morning. This is like a sprint to a very long finish line that must be achieved in a matter of seconds. Some mornings it seems merely impossible. But we manage...most of the time. I have to try and leave early, because there is one boy (this post is about him) that moves slower the faster I need him to move....it's like trying to make a slug pick up speed. And the more I ask him to move faster the tinier his steps become. It is not uncommon for me to look like I'm dragging my now 4 year old into the school that promotes love and God and all things Biblical. And every morning, I probably look like the stellarist of all moms, exemplifying an abundance of grace....I'm sure.
Yesterday, was a particularly rough morning...it took us 25 minutes just to get on the freeway (it usually takes 3 minutes). We were very late (I hate being late), It was pouring (I don't the rain). Bennett decided this would be the morning to make me shine brightly. In an attempt to get him to again, change his slug-moving ways....he got mad. He threw himself on the freshly puddled sidewalk, while I half begged/half drug him to Cole's class....all the while marching our late selves passed the huge windowed classrooms...that were now in session---with a kicking and screaming toddler in tow. He wouldn't pick himself up off the sidewalk, so I put Davis down (who walked perfectly alongside his oldest brother) while I scooped my red-faced screaming Bennett. Apparently he really DID want to walk because he then started another round of screaming stating just that. I had to corral all three boys into the tiny school office (since you know, we were now very very late and we needed a late slip) and it was crowded, full of others who were also late. I got a lot of "I hope your morning gets better's" After getting Cole safely to his class and one more screaming stand off later, a switch was flipped and he decided to happily add a pep to his step as he practically skipped back to the car. Upon arriving at the car, he quickly turned to me and in the perkiest little voice said, "let's go get a treat!"
I'm pretty sure I laughed...not nicely...but I laughed.
And this, this is how much of life is with him. When it's hard, it's hard. And just when you think, I'm going to lose every marble in every part of my brain....it's over. And you see him in all his sweetness.
Sometimes I have to constantly remind myself of this. Let the storm blow over....ride it out. It will be worth it.
So yes, this year, as with much of Bennett's life, it ebbs and flows in waves. We have rocky storms and peaceful breezes. He is my intense, stubborn, LOUD, stubborn, affectionate, stubborn, smart, stubborn, kind-hearted (if he chooses), stubborn, daring, stubborn, shy, stubborn, little boy. If his mind is made up about something he wants, doesn't want, thinks I should or shouldn't do, then he will fight for it until his death....usually taking out ear drums and his mama's patience along with him.
Today, as we were getting into the car after dropping Cole off at school, he slapped a bedazzled bracelet on his wrist (Cole's Sunday school creation) and proclaimed loudly that he was a Genie and he would grant me any wish I wanted.
Me: "My wish is that you would listen and obey your mother"
Bennett: (in a very genie-like voice) "I cannot grant you that wish....next wish please."
Of course. I think that statement pretty much sums up life with him right now.
There is no need to guess with him, and absolutely no beating around the bush. I suppose this has its positives...and probably more so as he gets older.
For all the passionate energy his little body explodes with, sleep simply does not seem to be high on his priority list. Months ago we waved our white flags in desperation and started giving him doses of melatonin. We tapered him off of it and it seemed to be doing the trick, we finally thought, "yes, he has got this normal, human sleep thing down--finally."
I'm pretty sure he has been snickering in his room ever since that thought first made its way through our heads. He decided he no longer "needs" his nap. Adios to mama's "me time". And he still wakes up calling for daddy at least once per night and usually stays up way later than he should "playing" in his room when he should be going to bed. We just close the door now and let him wear himself out instead of fighting it.
Even with little sleep, he is ambitious, and as we all know, passionate. I have no doubt in my mind he is destined for great things. I have always called him my mountain mover and shaker. He just needs to learn how channel it into positive outlets. And once he learns, world, you better be ready for him. He will be a good force to be reckoned with.
While at his 4 year check. (He actually gained 5 lbs from last year (currently at 34 lbs)....you would never be able to tell, but he did!) Anways, his doctor asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. I knew right away what his first three answers would be.
Bennett: "A bire-bighter (fire fighter), a dotter (doctor), a denist.... (and in his last little breath of air, his voice lowered every so slightly to an ominous tone)....and a MINJA (ninja)."
If anyone could pull off all of the above, he could. Even the ninja part. Just you wait!
And that is what I love so much about him. He aims high and even the hard doesn't seem out of reach for him. If you tell him he can't do something....he will set out to prove you wrong. Even if it means trying to launch himself through the air from a chair to the couch that are about a mile apart.
And when he gets out of his "I'm going to conquer whatever it is that you don't want me to conquer" mode, he softens and is so affectionately loving. He notices things that most kids his ages don't. He's perceptive, observant, and knows how to make you feel like a million bucks--if he wants. He is always the first to compliment me on what I'm wearing, and will grab my hand in the exact moment that I need it. And this is where I see another reflection of me, he needs the affection as much as I do. He loves to be carried down the stairs or for me to carry him in from the car. He often squeezes my neck and gives me kiss after kiss.
And this is when I sigh and exhale and remind myself that he is a powerful little being that will do great things, but he also still very much needs me. He needs my love and affection, he needs those boundaries, he needs consistency and time to allow his imagination to go wild. About that imagination, I love it about him. I often find him in his own world playing with dinosaurs, peppa pig, anything he can hold in his hand and make talk.
My dear dear Bennett, You like to remind me often that you are a big boy now because you are 4. You think you are bigger than you are. May no one ever underestimate how mighty you are despite your size. I know I often don't parent you the best way, I know I make so many mistakes that I'm afraid to try and count them all. I know that there are many situations and battles with you that I wish I could do over. You are a constant and ever changing force, I need to remind myself constantly to allow you room. Room to vent, to breathe, to be. I know in my heart of hearts that you are going to charge this world with that same force that I battle with daily. And the world better watch out because whatever you put that mind to, you won't stop until your mission is complete. I can already see how you will use that quality for greatness and touch others in very sincere and deep connecting ways. Because when you love, you love deeply. I pray daily for you, for me, for us. Sometimes they are prayers for strength and guidance....because sometimes, my son, I don't feel capable. I feel like I will fail you, that I won't be able to provide the equation of grace + discipline to = a positive outcome. Sometimes I just don't grace very well. And I'm working on that, please know I am working very very hard on that. Because you and I, we thrive on grace and find comfort in secure love. How thankful I am that when I fail you, you have Jesus who makes up for what I lack and everything else in between. Lastly, I hope you always know that I love you deeper than you will ever be able to understand. Because it's deeper than sometimes I can