Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Little Man

When I was pregnant with Alex, a friend of mine at church - a mama of three boys - told me something that I've never forgotten. We were exchanging emails about four months before my due date, and she said, "You're going to love that little boy with everything that's in you. But I want to prepare you for something. There will come a point in time, probably when he's around three years old, when Alex will gravitate toward your husband. It will make you sad. You'll feel like you're losing your baby. But it's the best thing in the world for's what he's supposed to do."

Honestly, I had sort of a "yeah, okay, whatever" reaction when I read the email. Y'all know how it is...everyone has two or four or ten cents of information that they can't WAIT to share with you when you're pregnant, and I had gotten to the point where I took everything with a grain of salt. But for some reason, Kathy's words stuck with me.

The first couple of years of Alex's life, he was All Mama, All The Time. He loved being with his daddy, of course, and they've always had a neat relationship, but he was pretty clear about his preference for mama. And why wouldn't he prefer me? I am delightful company. :-) When he hit two, I was ready for him to break out of the Mama shell just so I could get a break from All The Clinging, but he'd have no part of it. Mama mama mama - give that boy some mama, because it was the cure for everything.

For the last month or so, though, there's been a shift. It's been gradual...Alex wanting to sit by his daddy at supper, or Alex wanting his daddy to unbuckle him from the carseat, or Alex wanting to hold his daddy's hand instead of mine when he crosses the street. There's also the constant "Where's Daddy?" game; Alex requests updates on his daddy's location at all points in the day. There used to be no mention of Daddy in the afternoons, but now, when Alex gets up from his nap, one of the first things he wants to know is, "Where's Daddy, Mama? Is Daddy working?" So I've felt the winds of change blowing just a little bit, and I've been okay with it. I really have.

Today, when we were outside, I felt like I was seeing a boyhood rite of passage in action as I watched Alex follow his daddy around the yard. It was like David suddenly sprouted a 40 inch, 37 pound shadow. If David shoveled dirt, Alex wanted to shovel dirt. If David watered a plant, Alex wanted to water a plant. If David took two steps, Alex took two steps - and Kathy's email from 3 1/2 years ago played over and over and over in my mind.

It doesn't make me sad to see Alex gravitate toward his daddy. I know it's part of the whole "train up your child" process. As he soaks up the love and example of his earthly father, Alex is also creating a frame of reference for his relationship with his Heavenly Father. I get that. I don't want to do anything to hinder the process. And that part of it - Alex not wanting to be around me as much - isn't what makes me emotional.

But do you know what does make me emotional? That it's just so sweet, y'all. Probably one of the sweetest transitions I've ever had the privilege to witness. Without going into the whys and wherefores of D.'s relationship with his own father, I will just say that watching Alex with David is proof positive to me that God is merciful, and He's loving, and He's gracious, and He's faithful.

And I am one fortunate mama indeed.


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