Thursday, March 7, 2013

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

"The boy" turned five, and it came as no surprise to anyone who's had a conversation with him in the past year that he wanted a superhero birthday party! He's fairly obsessed with all things superhero, and his absolutely favorite is Spiderman.

Will had a great actual birthday (Matt stayed home from work, we went to an indoor play park where he ran into a buddy, and then we celebrated with the family at Aunt Pammie's). But his birthday party was like watching his dreams come true. We had superhero training at an indoor play park, but in reality, it was he and his buddies, playing their hearts out being as rough as they could be and then topping it off with cake, lemonade, and sno-cones! Of course, Mr. glass half-empty nearly had a meltdown because his party was "too short," but at least I knew that he had the time of his life! The highlight of the party was when his friends made a tunnel and he rode a motorized bike through the tunnel of friends chanting his name! A fast car, superheroes, and other guys to play with...Will's dreams coming true!

I'm so proud of my big, healthy, strong boy. We went for his five year old check up last week, and he weighed 56 pounds, and was 48 inches tall. He's only a little more off the chart in height than weight. Our doctor said he's the size of the average 7 1/2 year old and as healthy as a horse.

Of course, I'm proud of more than his size. I am proud of who he is. It's strange because Will is the child that I understand the least in some ways because he's a boy, and yet, in other ways, I understand him well because he and I share so many personality traits. I'm sure sharing those traits is what results in many of my fervent prayers for my boy. 

I know how he is struggles with perfectionism. How it devastates him when he feels like he's failed. I understand how strong his sense of justice is and how much he wants to fight against what he perceives as injustice. I know how sometimes he doesn't feel confident even when he should. I get how routine and structure help him feel secure and how change can leave him spinning out of control.

I don't quite understand, but I'm learning a lot about how he feels driven to use his body physically - to run, to jump, to climb, and, above all, to wrestle. I don't quite get how he doesn't understand that he outweighs all three of his sisters, the youngest two by twenty-five and thirty pounds, or why he doesn't understand that he can't be aggressive with them without me having to break out the ice packs! I don't quite understand why in a female-dominated mind game, he winds up head-butting a sister or cousin into the middle of next week. I sometimes forget that while is body is nearly eight, (much closer to Sophie's age), his heart and mind, just turned five (much closer to Lillie's age). There's quite a bit that is still a mystery to me about mothering a boy, but I'm committed to learning more each day.

My family and friends would say that out of all of my children, I am the most oversensitive about and overprotective of Will. They are probably right. You see, I watch people miss who Will really is all the time. Some see a big, over-aggressive bully. Some see a whiny, over-sensitive boy in a house full of girls. Some people don't stop to notice him at all. Because I share some of his more "challenging" personality traits and because I have taken the time to study his other personality traits, I see an amazing strong and true little boy, one of the deepest-thinking people I've ever known.

Will's strength doesn't lie in his 56 pounds, or 48 inches, or even in his ability to take a hit without seeming to notice. Will's strength is actually rooted in his depth. I can't say that Will asks nearly as many questions as Lillie does and certainly not as many as Sophie did, but when that boy does ask a question, rarely can I answer it without having to stop and ponder. From the trinity and forgiveness to dusk and arachnids, he just doesn't bother with the trivial. And he isn't satisfied with a pat answer, he won't stop asking follow ups until he understands. Understanding is crucial for Will. And that understanding is where his strength is growing.

I love that Will loves Spiderman. I love it because he's something of a Peter Parker, not the kid that is charming and winsome and everyone wants to be around. Not the kid that is super-creative and everything comes easily to. Maybe not the kid that everyone picks out as the natural born leader. But not unlike Peter, from deep places, Will is growing strong and he is passionate about truth. I just can't wait to see how the Lord is going to use him.

"With great power comes great responsibility" is a phrase I learned reading a Spiderman book to Will. It's reminiscent of another phase my parents taught me from another book, "To whom much is given, much is required." Will is a powerful boy, in body, mind, and spirit, and I'm encouraged by how he is growing in his responsibility. He's been given many gifts, and one of the greatest gifts I've been given is parenting him. My prayer is that I will do all that is required of me to help Will grow into a real hero, a strong man with deep roots who is passionate about truth that can only be found in the One who created him.

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