(So there’s some big news in this entry. I’m still not on Facebook till Easter even though the blog automatically posts to it, so if you have a question or comment that you want me to see, you’ll have to do it directly on the blog.)
My kids are pretty opposite when it comes to their personalities. For the most part, Connor is easy-going, laid-back, and goes with the flow. Ethan, my dear firstborn E, is not. For the past couple months, there has been talk of Tucson in our home because of a potential job for my husband. From the first moment he heard of it, Ethan reacted strongly. He was adamantly against any such idea from the beginning. Every single night for 2 months straight, he asked God not to let his daddy get the job in Tucson. He is persistently conscientious in his bedtime prayers. While this is sweet when he prays for someone’s healing or comfort, it can start to grate on a dad who is in the process of seeking a new job opportunity.
Finally, Mike had enough and had to tell Ethan to stop reciting the usual, “Please don’t let Daddy get the job in Tucson, and please don’t let us move from Albuquerque.” He protested loudly, “BUT I DON’T WANT TO MOVE!” I gently explained to him that he was hurting Daddy’s feelings by praying those words every night since this potential position was exciting for Mike. I also told him that if God wanted us to move then we could trust that plan. I said the most important thing was that we would be all together as a family. Ethan honored his father’s request but only after making it clear that he could still pray those prayers on his own. I have no doubt that he continued those exact words SILENTLY with great diligence.
One Sunday morning, the boys found out that the likelihood went from 50% to 90%. Sitting next to him in the car, I saw Ethan jerk his head back perhaps to curse the sky. It was not until we arrived at church that I noticed his eyes were watery and red. It hurt my heart to know how hard this was on him. When Mike texted me the afternoon he got an offer, I told the boys who were eating their after-school snack. Later I found Ethan in my room, lying on my bed with his head buried in the pillows, once again with watery eyes. I joined him, and we lay there silently for a moment. Then I commiserated with his feelings because I, too, was going to have to start over, make new friends, adjust to big changes, and leave things that I loved.
That night in his usual turn at the bunk bed prayer session, Ethan added new words. He asked God that IF we were going to move to Tucson, to help him be OK with it. That was huge coming from E. I felt that swell that grows in a mother’s heart when their child has come a long way. He was where his brother has been all along, but his path was rockier and full of fight. While having Connor (who was quickly satisfied with the mere possibility of a swimming pool) can make life so much easier, having Ethan (who protests and complains emphatically) can make life much more difficult. But when he comes through it, it is such a beautiful thing.
Often, he learns the hard way. Last fall when he found out that I had signed him up for basketball, Ethan almost cried in anger. Unlike Connor, he does not enjoy playing sports. He would much rather watch them and keep stats. Since Connor wanted to play and I wanted Ethan to be active, I signed them both up. By the end of the season, Ethan loved it. It became his favorite sport. Don’t get me wrong; it is still unenjoyable for him. He would still rather watch or keep stats. But he had a great team and coaches who allowed him the opportunity to learn the fundamentals and actually score baskets. It took an entire period of the coaches and teammates making sure Ethan got the ball at every opportunity until one of his attempts gloriously made it through the net. The whole gym cheered. We cheer anytime anyone scores. However, when someone not as athletic, someone who it doesn’t come naturally to but has to work at it with effort, when that someone scores, it brings the house down. We know the journey matters, the process is what is important, and we hold on to those lessons learned to guide us to the next place requiring the same tough work.
His honest journey has helped my own process. Together, we will get through this even if it does not come easy for us, and we will value the lessons learned. We know that what we meet with tears can often bring us great joy in the end. Bring on the pain of moving and the transitions involved with relocation. We may fight and yell some, but we know we will grow from it, and hopefully make God’s heart swell.