On Sean's birthday, I like to think that today we gave him two gifts. The first came from me. Let me explain. When the whole Hillary Clinton book came out about how it takes a village to raise a child I honestly thought it was a crock. I still think the main influences on a child are their parents and was too much of a control freak to think that anyone else really made that much of a difference. And then January 11, 2011 came along and that theory was blown out the window. Half of my whole was gone. And I truly began to realize that I need the people that are in my sons' lives. I need their teachers, their Sunday School leaders, their Awana leaders, their friends, their friend's families to help me raise these children. And that was really not more true than yesterday. Logistically, my life can be a little difficult but thankfully I have really kind people nearby to help. Hunter had a birthday party to go to and I arranged for John to go to his friend Mason's house. Let me interrupt myself here. Back story: John would ride the Superman ride at Six Flags but would not get on his bike. Literally. He was terrified of the thing. And I just knew in my heart it was time for him to get on it and ride. I asked Grant, Mason's father to help me. He was a good one to ask, I don't know too many more laid back people than him. I brought John and the bike to his house during that birthday party and said, "Will you please teach my son how to ride his bike?" Confession time: that was hard for me. I felt like a little bit of a failure as a parent with this. I felt like it was my responsibility to teach him but I knew that I just wasn't the one. And that was all right. So, I dropped him off and did what I do best - I cried halfway to the party. Tears that I wouldn't see him learn, tears that Sean wouldn't be the one to teach him and, honestly, relief that I could pass that on to someone else. So, Sean's first gift was my acceptance that maybe I can't always be the be-all and end-all in my sons' lives (persish the thought). But there will be people in their lives that will come alongside them and love them. What a gift to their father.
The second gift came from my John himself. I got to Grant's house after the party and he said, "Yeah, he knows how to ride and he's doing a good job." Just like that. You know how your children will ultimately teach you more than you'll teach them? Yeah. I got that in spades. John got on the bike, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Mama, I just didn't know how much fun it would be." God, I love that little boy. Talk about a life lesson right there. How many times have we missed something because of fear and missed all that fun? I know I have. So, I think the gift John gave was his willingness to try (once his mother went away) and he did it. John is living through the darkest days of his life and he triumphed. He could have kicked and screamed and refused to even try. Sean is watching that. I can only imagine that he was cheering him on from above. And I hope that we made him proud.