I quickly took this picture of my son today…incognito at a stop sign. I wanted to capture this moment-how he seemed at once still a child and at the same time a teenager. Barefooted, snacking on a chocolate Bevita (the closest we come to ‘healthy’ in his reprotoire), his blankie within arms reach, yet reading the latest National Geographic. Not NG for Kids…the grown up, I need a Thesaurus to read it, National Geographic Magazine. As he comes across articles he finds interesting, he shares them with me, giving his insights on the theories presented or recent discoveries made, offering theories of his own. This will be the same child that later I will beg to brush his teeth, who can barely use silverware, and will watch hours of Phineus and Ferb, or YouTube videos of other dudes playing video games. Just when I think his brain is turning to mush, something like this happens….My 4th grader and I munch on chocolate Bevitas and discuss how the theory of evolution compares to the creation narrative in Genesis.
I hope I can remember this day…this picture that says way more than 1000 words to me. This picture, this moment, reminds me of how God has created each one of us so uniquely..with so much complexity. In a world that wants to label our children as gifted or athletic, or ADHD, or whatever…in a culture that wants to label everyone as something- politically, socially, financially…we are all unique and sometimes we seem inconsistent because we do not ‘fit’ under a label. In this picture my son is as at once childish and mature. Just like me. Some days I feel like I have matured in my faith…that I am on “National Geographic” level…other days, I’m sitting in the corner watching cartoons! Sometimes I am able to take care of my family with ease and grace, and love…and other days, I am exhausted, stressed, and wondering, “Are you there, God? It’s me..Jeanette.”
This picture says all that to me, but even more than 1000 words…it says just one- Hope. There is hope in this because I see that he is at peace when he is allowed to be all that he is designed to be….a child with a blankie, eating a cookie, and reading the National Geographic. That gives me hope to cut myself free of all that I expect myself to be and embrace what God has designed me to be…there is peace. With God, I don’t have to worry about labels, expectations, inconsistencies…I can just be what He has designed me to be…HIS child…barefooted and all.