As a little guy he was accident prone.
As an infant he:
- got his foot stuck in the ring of a crib toy that hung in his crib
- got the HANDLE of his pacifier stuck in a vertical position in his mouth
- received 2 black eyes from his big brother in about 3 days
- was pinned to his diaper on both sides during the same diaper change
- got his head stuck under his crib
- had his fingers slammed in the car door
- crawled under a double bed and got stuck in the far back corner of the room
Even as a baby James was independent. He wouldn't nurse to sleep. He'd nurse, then squirm and fuss, or even cry until I put him in his crib. He'd then sigh like he was happily melting into his mattress and go to sleep.
He hardly ever wanted to cuddle. Even before he could walk or talk he preferred a pile of toys in the corner to being held, kissed, or cuddled.
It seems like he's always been in a hurry to grow up. The minute he started walking he gave it up and starting running. On his tippy toes. With a tiny toy gripped tightly in each sweaty little hand.
When he was about 4 his grandma bought a tricycle for him. We lived in an apartment at the time and everyone but yours truly worked. That meant the boys had the entire parking lot to themselves all day. Roller skating, bike riding, playing chase.......one day I put a jump rope down in a line to show James where his tricycle riding boundary was. He sweetly rode his bike within that area until I had to run inside for the phone. As I came back out, there was James, skooching the jump rope over with his little foot. He knew better than to cross the line, but he sure didn't have a problem with moving it.
One afternoon when he was 3 we went for a walk in a nearby cemetery. There was a 12" cross on one of the graves. James quietly studied the cross for a bit, then said, in his sweet, little
Elmer Fudd voice, "Daddy, look at dat cwoss. Jesus wasn't vewy big, was He?"
When James was a boy we lived next to a 3 acre pond. James would spend hours and hours and hours out there in the row boat, alone, looking for turtles, fish, bugs, birds and anything else that moved. He was thrilled to be alone, in the quiet, dreaming and thinking James' things.
During those first few months of being James' mother, when I finally figured out, "Hey, this baby is extremely independent..", my heart developed a tiny, quiet ache. I knew right off the bat this boy would be the one to leave the nest first. I managed to ignore the little ache, or at least bury it beneath the hustle of raising 4 boys and homeschooling. We focused on building a close relationship with the boys, and finding the balance between being their parents and being their friends. We did indeed manage to find that balance, by the Grace of God, and we are good friends with each son.
I had a little poem tucked deeply in my heart, right next to the ache:
Listen to them.
Give them deep roots.
Give them wings.
During the moments when I wanted to clobber any of them, or run away from home, that poem would come to the surface. I'd sigh, pray, and try to listen to the wisdom of it. Of course there were many times I blew it, but all in all, I think it turned out OK.
James found an apartment about 10 minutes from where he works and will be moving in the next week or so. The final line of that poem has taken a prominent place in my thoughts this week.
Give them wings. Give them wings. Give them wings........
I'm so proud of James and so excited to see him loving Jesus and wanting to serve and follow and obey Him. It's wonderful to see his strengths being used to show Jesus' love to the hurting little boys he works with at Wheeler.
At this point motherhood feels like a pin cushion. I'm not sure how to explain it....I think when he came home last week and told me he was moving out it felt like I'd been stabbed by a pin. But seeing who he is, and what he's doing, and watching God work and move and breath in that boy's life takes the sting away. Now I just have a hole where the pin was.
Give them wings...Give them wings....
Lord, give me strength.....