Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Growing pains...

When my sweet Benjamin was barely old enough to talk, he began to express gratitude for anything and everything anyone did for him. His amazing spirit understood being grateful as soon as his mouth could form the words, "Tank oo."

My creative kid as Snetsky in FOOLS -- a Neil Simon play.

Young Benjamin seemed to have an innate grasp of the limitations of his body due to the trauma his brain withstood as a baby born entirely too early. But it was more than that, young Benjamin seemed to have a God-given acceptance of his body's limitations. He was so at ease and comfortable with who God made him to be that he made everyone else feel that same ease.

Benjamin and one of his two top fans -- DAD!
I really should not speak in the past tense. This kid is so amazing and has an attitude that amazes me daily. BUT.

Ah. That is the little word that can be followed by so much. Right? But. 

This incredible boy is not a little kid anymore. He is a handsome young man -- a high school freshman with dreams and goals and an amazing mind that can achieve them. And so the BUT...he amazes daily but, the fact of the matter is that he has days where he struggles. He struggles to accept the help required. He wants what most teenagers want -- independence. But my Benjamin is dependent on others for every part of his daily living from dressing to eating to having his iPad handed to him. Dependent.

With his number ONE fan -- Me!

Part of me knows I should take a deep breath and know this is typical teen stuff -- he wants independence and we will work through it. But I am one of THOSE moms...the kind that push and urge and push some more, hoping to "help" my kids through the hard lessons to get to the other side a bit faster. So this week as I, ahem, urged, my dear child to have a spirit of gratitude for us as we care for him, I was losing my patience. So desperate was I for him to "learn" that I almost missed the lesson myself.

"I just wish I could cure Cerebral Palsy, Mom. Then I could do everything for myself."

And that made me stop. Made me move him to his bed where we could sit side by side. I put my arm around him and just held him while we grieved for a moment the cure we do not have.

Then I reminded him that we have to make a choice. We have to choose gratitude even when we don't want the help. We have to choose gratitude for the many many many blessings we do have EVEN IF we have Cerebral Palsy also. We have to choose...

And you know what. I heard God whisper to my spirit. "You have to choose gratitude too."

Oh my goodness. I stopped cold. How often do I breeze by my blessings in order to whine about the insignificant annoyances of my day? How often do I obsess over the little pains and fail to give God thanksgiving for the abundance of health? How often...

There are blessings in the growing pains. Blessings in learning, growing and reaching new milestones. But listen, my friends, we have to slow down enough to see them. We have to stop our pushing, urging and trying to overachieve long enough to be still and hear. We have to give thanks. For all our blessings.

May 2012 be a year of doing just that.


Judy said...

Thank you for perspective....thank Benjamin! ! Xo

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

You are all amazing people, Carol. We all learn from you and your family with each post. Thanks - love you, my friend.