Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fruit Trees and Identity

We've been busy planting fruit trees. In the front we've got a Caty apricot, a Black Mission fig, a Meyer lemon and a Cara Cara navel orange (my favorite because of his low acidity). In the back we planted a Dancy tangerine, Satsuma mandarin and a Nagami kumquat. It's a joy to see Wyatt work with his hands alongside Garett.

In addition to looking forward to fruit in our future, Wyatt is growing in his independence and we are discovering new ways to be his parents. I find myself worrying about it more than I was before and I get really discouraged when I see him being rough and unkind with other kids. It's a challenge to know how to set firm boundaries and also remain gentle and patient. For me, harsh often accompanies firm even though I wish it didn't. I'm feeling at the end of myself in this area and it's a good (though often unpleasant) place to be in terms of dependence on our faithful God.

I'm resisting the urge to read a million parenting books and wanting instead to look for opportunities to develop a balance of grace and truth in my love for Wyatt. It's so easy to want "the answer" (as if there is one answer to fit all parent/child relationships) but I think God is interested in what is happening in my heart and Wyatt's heart as we face these explorations of boundary and choice. I surely don't want to raise a boy who thinks the world revolves around him but I also don't want to raise a robot who responds to my commands out of fear. Thankfully these are not the only two options. My hope is that God's grace allows Wyatt to become a boy who responds appropriately to authority and demonstrates love and respect for others and the world around him.

It's so easy to be smug and proud when Wyatt's is obedient and charming, inside believing that I am responsible for his positive traits. I am also ashamed when he's not so charming and I quickly allow my mind and heart to travel down the path of believing that it's all my fault and somehow is a reflection of me. For example, this week when we were checking out of the library, Wyatt found a large map, unfolded it and ran around the main floor shaking it over his head wildly. I asked him to stop and he decided to continue on his merry way. We've been reprimanded at the library multiple times before and I could see another one coming. I was embarrassed and frustrated as I chased him down, picked him up, informed him of his consequence and then tried to pay my $32.47 late fee while holding my screaming, flailing child. These are the moments where what I actually believe about God and who I am in him are revealed. Am I defined by my parenting abilities or lack thereof? Or is it something or someone else altogether that defines my true identity? And I thought the baby stage was exhausting...

On the Bluff

We spent a few nights in Big Sur at the Kirk Creek campground last weekend with friends Kim and Jason from Alameda and it was a lovely time. The weather cooperated perfectly being t-shirt and shorts weather by about 9am. Our camp site was nestled out on a bluff so we could sit at our picnic table and check out the glassy ocean.

My favorite thing was when we drove a few miles south but north of Sand Dollar beach and parked just off Highway 1. There are these little stairways between barbed wire fences that called out to us to explore beyond. We walked over one of them and hiked around looking for a private beach cove with a corresponding way to get down to it. All we could find were steep cliffs and it was looking bleak when the boys found a narrow, rocky, somewhat steep path down to a completely private cove with a sandy beach. We made it down just fine and the boys fished in the surf for perch. They caught the biggest perch I've ever seen and Wyatt got to reel a few in. Kim and I got to hang out and chase around Wyatt in a attempt to not let him get swept away by the tide. The sky lit up as we made our way back to the car. I'm writing this much detail because sadly I didn't bring a camera with me on this adventure. The experience is memorialized in my mind and spirit and I can't wait to find another spot like this the next time we head north.

When we get back from a camping trip, I find myself immediately getting online to make another reservation. I'm thankful that Garett is teaching me the art of the camp and look forward to our next trip.

Friday, February 18, 2011


This morning over breakfast, Wyatt and I got in a conversation about the car accident I got in over a year ago. He asks me about it often because he likes to hear the details. Today, however, his questions took a twist.

"Mommy, where is that car that hit you?"

I answered and he proceeded to tell me about how he wants to battle the car. He wants to find the car and use his gigantic excavator and turn on the levers and dig a humongous hole and dump the car into it so it will be eaten by gophers and broken forever.

"Why do you need to battle the car, Wyatt?"

"I need to protect you, Mommy. I will save you."

While I do not consider myself to be a woman who requires extra protection, this warmed my heart.