My firstborn son turned 14 in May, but I was still in recovery mode from surgery. It is now August and how pathetic that I am just getting this post written!
Surprising? frustrating? I don't know. I can't believe the time we let slip by as humans sometimes. On the other hand, I can say I have been busy about the right priorities this summer. That's gotta be some progress, huh?
So what can I say about my Garrison Thomas at this stage of our journey together?
He absolutely intrigues me!
I know no one else like Garrison. He is, in many ways, like his dad, with little glimmers of myself shining through, but there are by and large, more characteristics that are all him and completely foreign to either my husband or myself.
Since he was three, we have heard him say he might be this or that when he grows up...an ice hockey playing pastor who is in the Navy to a scientist, then a doctor-but not a "gross kind," a rock star, a football player, an engineer, a lawyer, a statesman, and talk the other day of a geneticist.
Who knows what vocation this young man will end up in, but one thing for sure...the thing that has been constant is his undeniable faith in Jesus from as early as I can remember.
When he was three, I pulled him unconscious from my parent's pool and later, in the ER room as I sat guilt-ridden more than I have ever felt at any other time in life, my precious little boy looked up at me, smiled and whispered, "Mommy, I saw Jesus under there." Is that why he has always seemed convinced...always had this secure "knowing" that Jesus IS and that's all there is to it?
All I know is that he has never wavered and we don't have to do anything to "get him" to seek God. He reads the Bible daily and he walks his talk. He has always fought against injustice and compassion exudes from him. He is the first to apologize...the first to help...to submit...to give.
When he was four, he came to me in the kitchen before preschool and asked what it meant to pray to be baptized by fire and when I explained that to him, he prayed right then and there and asked God to fill him up with the power of the Holy Spirit. He immediately began to speak in another language. If I had any doubt left that this could really occur it was taken care of that day. That would be one of the many times God taught me through this child He gave me.
I will never forget the day we met with Garrison's endocrinologist before we moved from Washington. He was 28 months old and they had just finished testing his IQ. The doctor said, "I didn't want to tell you this when your son was a newborn, but from the clinical data that showed his thyroid produced virtually no hormone on its own and our experience, it would look like he would be profoundly learning disabled. I never like to limit a child by lowering the parent's expectations. I like to wait and see parents treat their children has normal as possible and see what that child can do. We are astounded that Garrison shows the intelligence he does. We expect no delays whatsoever in his future."
Garrison defied the odds. Garrison stood out. That's what Garrison does. That is who Garrison is.
I have little doubt that is a huge part of why God has put it on our hearts to homeschool our sons. They are no more "special" than any human child born on this planet, but whatever he has been set apart to do is going to require that he stand up, stand out, and do it with all diligence, not half-heartedly!
Will he find the cure for cancer? Will he argue cases for children who have had unfathomable injustices done to them? Will he become the economist who has the plan to turn his nation around? I have no clue. But I know my boy, and I know that wherever his gifts and talents take him, his character will keep him there.
I have definitely not been the perfect parent to this child. I have absolutely not had all the right answers. I have at times, laid too much on him, expected far too much, been way too impatient, yelled too many times...yet still...he loves me. He takes care of me, protects me, honors me.
So many times, he leaves me speechless, astounds me with his love, and challenges me with his faith. I can't count the times I have thought, "How did I end up with him?" I feel so unqualified to raise a child like him. I fear failing him...but then I fear failing all of them to be honest.
I am thankful that Garrison isn't a teenager who talks back and bucks against us. We try to explain things...such as why we don't think it is a good idea to have a Facebook account at his age. We know we can't legally stop him from making one. He knows that as well. But, he chooses to listen to our wisdom and submit his heart, believing we have his best interests at heart.
I don't take a relationship of love and trust like this for granted. I tread purposefully and carefully, doing my best to keep communication open and honest about all things.
I'm so excited for Garrison's future. I'm so glad he doesn't just fall for anything, but makes sure he knows why he believes what he believes and stands by those convictions but walks them out in love and respect for others. He is only 14, but in so many ways, I see a man already looking back at me.
We love you so much son...not for what you do, but for who you are