Zany blasted into this world with one of "those" birthing stories- cord prolapsed. Dramatic race down the hallway with a male nurse between my legs and plugging my hoo-ha. The only OB left only moments before. There I lay, anesthesiologist sitting poised with general anesthetic. The nurse still sitting between my lets, fighting to hold a crowning head above my cervix. Nurses running in and out:
"We can't find a doctor."
"We found one, He's just scrubbed in for surgery, but he's a neurosurgeon and hasn't done a c-section since residency"
"Never mind, the OB is back."
Anesthesiologist gently looks at me and says, "Start counting backwards."
At 10 months, sitting in a high chair eating breakfast.
Zany leaned to one cheek. Let out a butt cheek flapper. Sat straight up.
At 11 months I asked him playfully what kind of birthday he wanted.
He hummed the Winnie The Pooh theme song.
"You want a Winnie The Pooh birthday party?"
I was in trouble.
I began to pray for inspiration. It came: How did Robin William’s Mom do it? Or Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman, Tim Conway, Jonathan Winters…Somehow these men were raised without being broken by their Mothers.
After a bad day in first grade, he threw a vacuum across the room. His teacher turned a blind eye while classmates punish each other. She only acknowledged good behavior. In this Lord Of The Files environment, they cornered Zany, under a desk, yelling at him.
When we moved to the Central Valley where we chose to home school. So much needed to be corrected and we wanted to give them a love of learning. Zany struggled to get his schoolwork done on time. So, I designed a natural consequence:
If you don’t get your school work done within the time allotted, then at the end of the school day, you take it to your room. No playing out side with the neighborhood kids.
He contentedly sat in his room for a week. AND quit doing school work altogether.
It was a hill I died on.
Some people wanted to call him “Strong-Willed.” But I knew he wanted to please. He had a soft and compassionate heart. If I broke that will, he would become a broken man. Not prepared for the life God called him to.
I met a Mom of a similar boy. In his teens now, this boy, years earlier would only wear kakis. It lasted a year. Why? Because it was weird to wear his name- jeans. She agreed with me. That “Strong-Willed” book was only good for one thing:
Hitting your kid with it.
She introduced me to Raising Your Spirited Child and Making Children Mind Without Loosing Yours. These books saved his life. I stumbled across Nurture By Nature-based on the Meyers-Briggs personality test. This book gave me a game plan that changed as often as he did.
In Zany’s preteens, exasperated, I asked him, “Do I need to explain to you WHY I am an authority in your life?”
His stormy blue eyes widened. He softly and humbly asked, “Yes. Please?”
Because I Said So never worked.
Why? BECAUSE if I wasn't there he had no reason to follow the rule. He needed to have an intrinsic reason to be honest, respectful, honor authority, forgive and serve others.
Early tees found me in tears and on my knees daily. Homeschooling him was what he needed, but it was a refining fire for me. How to raise this gifted, gentle soul and not break him.
Zany wasn't mine.
I was a steward of the child God created. I would be held accountable for every millstone, harsh word or injustice. One morning, looking in the mirror and at a complete end Holy Spirit whispered this verse to my heart:
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
If God’s mercies are new every morning for me, then from that fountain, I can extend them to him. I decided I was going to like Zany as a teen-EVEN IF IT KILLED ME.
Zany went to public high school. He was ready to be accountable to someone else. He wanted me to be just Mom.
Now he is a senior. Drug free, alcohol free, and a solid faith in a God who loves him. He knows he has shortcomings. Zany knows the only help to navigate them is growing in faith. He has a tireless work ethic. Impervious to bullying and passionate about justice. Still driven by his individualistic ethos.
He turns 18 today.
He’s a man.
AND I LIKE HIM.