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Monday, May 21, 2007

Logan

Logan turns five tomorrow. This is something to celebrate, because three years ago, I couldn't have told you if either of us would ever make it this far.

I could pull out all the nasty little things that I hear parents label their kids right over the little ones' heads and give you a more complete picture of who my little Logan was at two, but I won't. I believe very strongly in the power of words. Instead, I will tell you that Logan was a very determined little boy who had to learn to reconcile his wants with the level of obedience and self-denial required to interact with other people.

Logan was a toddler who did all of those uncivilized toddler things that make parents cringe. I was a mother who had absolutely no idea what to do to tame what I saw as a sin nature run completely and totally amok. I can't count the number of times I cried over him, for him or with him. I spent the better part of eighteen months fairly certain that I would fail my son--certain that there was no way that I could help him to be who it was that God had designed him to be. I had visions of him hating me as an adult. Worse, I couldn't shake the fear that his lack of respect for authority would translate into a complete lack of faith.

Midway through Logan's third year, I found that my prayer had shifted. It was no longer about my son; instead, I was now praying that God would change me. "Make me the mother he needs, Lord. Show me how to help him. Let me see what he sees." The shift was pivotal. Just as Logan found his voice and began moving into the larger world of communication, I felt my role in his life finally make sense.

See, Logan is what I now think of as a passionate child. He has emotions that bubble up and overflow, and frankly, the mess splatters far from the pot. But the other side of that heat is a way of seeing the world that goes beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life. The world my Logan lives in is one where love is complete and all-consuming. Where injustice hurts more than physical pain. Where beauty is something that you must stop and breathe in, not merely gaze at. Logan feels joy so total that it must be expressed with movement and song. He feels sadness so deeply that he must withdraw and process. These are the gifts of my Logan.

My role in all of this for the past year and a half has been to act as his human thermometer. I watch Logan carefully--far more carefully than Jo or Atticus--and try to stay attuned to how his passions are running on any given day. Situations that would be speed bumps for my other children during times when they are tired, emotional, not feeling well or crabby are disastrous
for Logan. We turn down play dates when he is likely to find them more taxing than thrilling--something I never felt I had to do with my other kids. Logan is still fine tuning the art of not allowing what is inside of him to froth over onto the people around him. Until he gets that particular discipline down, my job is to give him small boot camp sessions in which to stretch himself in safety. This is a big job; it's been one of the most humbling experiences I've had in parenting thus far.

As Logan leaps ahead into the grade-school years, I see my role shifting again. I know that it's time for him to put all the things that he has learned into practice, bit by bit. Time for the mommy thermometer to stay on the shelf more often, and to allow Logan's own inner regulator to begin to bear the brunt of figuring out what an appropriate reaction is or how to handle a particular setting. It's exciting to watch him ski just along the edge of later childhood. With his many gifts, I know that he is in for some true joys and amazing disappointments as his horizons slowly expand. Thinking of Logan losing his first tooth, reading his first chapter book, becoming a big brother ... my heart beats faster knowing how fully he will appreciate those moments thanks to the fiery passion in his heart.

I am eternally grateful for the gift of being Logan's mother. I look back on the past five years in awe, realizing that I have been to the depths of places I never knew existed. I have looked into my heart and examined my own motives. I have redefined what success is. I have learned volumes from this child--things that I could never have been taught any other way.

Happy Birthday, Logan.

5 comments:

Anne said...

This is a beautiful post. I really like your voice.

Anne said...

and Happy Birthday Logan!

KH said...

I'm very much like your son and was so as a child, too. I can tell you that as a kid with that kind of passion, my emotions felt bigger than me. That makes it especially hard to learn to control emotions. I also assumed, when young, that everyone else felt the same emotions and felt them to the same degree as I did. That left me feeling quite alone at times when I would realize that most everyone else wasn't feeling it quite as much as I was - whether it be happiness, sorrow, disappointment or fear. And it left me feeling confused. And sometimes angry when it seemed others were more apathetic - especially about injustice.

On the flip side, I also experienced the kind of joy and huge love you see in Logan. It's wonderful! He's a very blessed little boy to have such a wonderful mom that embraces who he is while refining him. Who seeks to understand him first.

Happy birthday to your little one! My oldest child is turning five in just over a month.

Kara said...

What an amazing commentary on being the mother of a "challenging child." Well said.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful.