Have you heard this song sung by Eric Church? I’m a long gone Waylon song on vinyl I’m a back row sinner at a tent revival, She believes in me like she believes her bible, And loves me like Jesus does. I’m a lead foot leaning on a souped-up Chevy, I’m a good old boy, drinking whiskey and rye on the levee, But she carries me, when my sins make me heavy, And loves me like Jesus does. All the crazy in my dreams, Both my broken wings, Every single piece of who I am, Yeah, she knows the man I ain’t, She forgives me when I can’t, And the devil, man, no he don’t have a prayer, Cause she loves me like Jesus does. Always thought she’d give up on me one day, Wash her hands of me, leave me staring down some runway, Yeah, I thank God each night, and twice on Sunday, That she loves me like Jesus does. All the crazy in my dreams, Both my broken wings, Every single piece of who I am, Yeah, she knows the man I ain’t, She forgives me when I can’t, And the devil, man, he don’t stand a chance, Cause she loves me like Jesus does. Yeah, she knows the man I ain’t, She forgives me when I can’t, And the devil, man, no he don’t have a prayer, Cause she loves me like Jesus does. I’m a long gone Waylon song on vinyl...
I first heard this on Easter morning (how appropriate!) as I sped off to join my family at the 9 am service. We were in separate cars because I had stayed behind to clean up the disgusting mess in the bathroom and then tried to make myself presentable for the holiday. Understandably, I was feeling a bit like Cinderella in the first half of her story. But as soon as I heard the first verse of this country song, my focus shifted from feeling sorry for myself to thinking about the kind of parent I want my younger son to have.
I say my "younger son" because Henry has never met a rule he didn't follow. He and I are cut from the same cloth. We're pleasers. Sure, Henry tests the waters now and again but what child doesn't? Liam, however, doesn't just test the waters, he splashes around the deep end dumping icy buckets of it over my head. When he was four months old we locked horns over who could hold the tv remote (I'm not kidding you!) and there's scarcely been a day since that he's not tried to bend a rule until it's broken into tiny bits and we're both crying.
Well, after hearing this song, I decided right there and then to stop lamenting the struggles. Liam is who he is. I cannot change his tenaciousness. I can lay down the rules. I can give him consequences. I can provide structure and support. All of that is important and necessary. But not as important as a mother's love. My new goal is for Liam to know, now and twenty years from now, that he is loved unconditionally. I want to be the person who is always in his corner. Even when he is in a time out.
Caught in their natural suburban habitat: A rare photo shows two young boys behaving well while dining out. The younger of the two can be seen eating something that is not laced with sugar or artificial flavoring, quite unusual for this particular specimen. These creatures proved their hardiness by consuming white milk and living to tell about it. Vegetables were not introduced at this time due to risks associated with the general public's safety. At no time should one forget that these are wild animals whose appearance is deceptively cute.
I had to. This park is well-known for the dozen or so tanks that have been parked here for decades. Kids climb them every time they visit until they grow too self-conscious to scramble up and pose for a photo. Then they come back in a few years and set their own children atop these mammoth vehicles. It was the first true Saturday of spring, perfect for being outdoors; as long as the boys gave equal time to the rest of the park, I was happy to let Henry and Liam have some rugged play.
Make no mistake, I am not changing my stance of zero tolerance for weapon play. It is not by accident that the boys do not even own a squirt gun. Occasionally, they will pretend that some long stick or pool noodle is a sword but that's as close to combat as I'll allow. I have been known to throw away Happy Meal toys and return birthday presents in order to keep anything that resembles a gun away from my boys. They are not allowed to watch any movie or television show in which the characters use weapons. And you know what? There are still lots of shows to watch, learn from and enjoy.
Contrary to common belief, my sons, having not been given toy pistols, do not aim random stick-like objects at targets and pretend to shoot. Why do people assume that that is okay? That boys will be boys and that's how they should be? What value is there in that kind of play? I want my children to grow up to be strong, brave and kind. When they go out into the world, I never want them to intentionally harm another human being. So why would I have them practice the opposite behavior in our living room?
In the past week, I've witnessed two things that are hard to believe --especially in a post-Sandy Hook society. Or maybe...sadly, easy to believe. One day as I was on my way to pick up Henry from kindergarten, I heard a rhythmic popping sound coming from a parked car in front of the school. Inside was a preschooler shooting what I think was a cap gun (do they still make those?) at the school windows. I couldn't believe my eyes. I didn't see anyone else in the car--presumably they were meeting older children at the school doors. With each pop, I felt nauseous. I wanted to grab that toy from the child's hands and shout No! in his face. Then I wanted to find and slap his parent. But I didn't. Because, after all, it is a parochial school. And a free country.
Where will that preschooler be in fifteen years? Hmmmm, maybe he'll be working in retail. The young employee I saw today certainly has been holding faux weapons for a while. As he crossed in front of me, he pointed his hand-held price scanner at a colleague and pretended to shoot. I could tell that was what he was doing because he added sound effects. I must assume that this young man was a high school graduate. Although he looked like a student, it was noon on a weekday--so he must be at least eighteen. If he wants to shoot someone so badly that he can't wait until his shift is over, why didn't he just enlist in the army? Maybe since the store is called Target, he thought he had.
So despite this post's first photo, I have no intention of raising warriors. Real or imagined. There are too many other ways to spend our time on this planet.