Now I know that you should never try to live through your children. Ryan and I have talked about how we don't want to push our children into things that they aren't interested in or gifted at. We believe that although God has given us this major responsibility of raising Landon, it is not our job to make him into who we want him to be. Landon is already his own person. God has placed dreams and passions in his tiny heart that are just waiting to be unleashed into reality. God wrote out Landon's life story before the beginning of time. How foolish would we be to try to be the authors of a story that has already been written?
With that said, I am finding that it is impossible not to live through your child in a sense. I see things differently when I am with Landon. I see the world as if I am seeing it for the very first time. I do not think this is a negative thing. I believe it may be one of the most abundant blessings a parent can receive. The other day I stood out on our balcony with Landon snuggled tightly to my chest. It was pouring down rain. We stood under the over hang, safely out of reach of the down pour. We could hear it pelting the roof above us, and we could see the ripples it made as it pounded the puddles that were already forming on the pavement, but we could not feel it. I told Landon how I love the rain. I told him that one day papa and I will let him run outside through the puddles. Then I took his little arm and I reached it out over the balcony, just enough for a couple rain drops to hit his skin, a couple seconds later I pulled him back to my chest. I stood there with him for another minute, just thinking, thinking about how I just witnessed him discovering rain for the first time. I don't remember feeling rain for the first time, but I will forever remember that moment.
What a gift God has given us as parents, the chance to see our world through the eyes of our children. The other day Ryan was playing with Landon. He had a ball and he would hold it above Landon, who was staring intently up at it. Ryan would then drop the ball and then catch it right before it could hit Landon. He yelled at me to come watch. He was amazed that Landon wouldn't even blink as the ball came within inches of his face. Without thinking about it, I told him it's because he has never been hit before. As soon as I said it I realized how significant that statement was. Landon has never been hit before. Even though he has gone through horrible pain that a baby should never have to experience, he still sees the world as good. He is free from the burden of cynicism that resides and grows in so many of us like a cancer. I feel this need to protect this innocence of his, but I know that I cannot. I cannot catch every ball that is going to come flying at him. He is bound to be hit someday, and he will slowly lose the beautiful trust that he has in people. Just as we are blessed to be able to introduce Landon to all of the beauty this world has to offer, we will also have to watch as he discovers the pain and evil that saturates this world. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but until we reach Heaven life is bound to be mean and unfair. We have already learned that lesson through our experiences with Landon, but for some reason, it didn't stick with him.
I watch my son and everyday I am reminded that Jesus calls me to be more like him. In Matthew 18 the disciples were arguing over which of them was the greatest. Jesus, obviously frustrated and ticked off at their arrogance, decided to teach them a lesson. "He called a child to him, and placed the child among them. and He said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:2-4) What I hear God speak to me through this passage is, "look at Landon, Natalie. Look at how he loves and adores you and depends on you for all of his needs. He isn't only dependent on you though, he trusts you completely. His heart is pure. Look at how he allows you to show him the world.
Even though the waters are cold and uncomfortable, he trusts that he is safe in your arms, that you wont let him go. He is not blinded by the pride of life or a heart that is too hard to feel. Come to me as he comes to you, with complete dependence, trust, and love. Don't give into the pain of this life and harden your heart to my goodness. Don't lose your curiosity of this world. Hold on tight to the wonder of my creation and my perfect plan for you.
Let me hold you and walk you through this life. You don't have to be strong, just rest in the assurance that you are my child and I will NEVER let you go.
"Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God."
I want the childlike faith that my son has. I want to teach him, the beautiful redeeming truth, that even though people will fail him, that God never will. I have already started apologizing to him for all of the ways that I will disappoint him and let him down. Right now he thinks me and Ryan are perfect. He is blinded to our flaws. All he knows is that we love him and that's all he wants from us right now. Someday though, he will feel the pain of a ball that we let slide and hit his face. When that day comes I pray that he knows that he can run to his heavenly daddy, crawl up into his lap, and let Him heal his hurt. Our job as parents isn't to never fail our children; it's to make sure they know where to turn when we and the rest of the world do fail them.