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...