It’s nine a.m. and my boys have already jumped feet first into the pool. They come back five minutes later, matching blue towels wrapped around their waists like half spun cocoons. They look alike, one thirty years older and wiser than the other, but I see the man growing inside the boy and the little boy still knocking about inside the man.
While my husband and son share the same dark hair and an annoyingly perverse pleasure in tormenting members of the opposite sex, they aren’t as alike in temperament and personality as most people assume. It’s a little more like mother, like son in these here parts. My son is a mirror, and I see the crazy of my reflection written all over his DNA. It’s so much easier to spot our own brand of crazy in someone else.
In the U2 song Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own, Bono sings these words to his father
“I don’t need…
I don’t need to hear you say
That if we weren’t so alike
You’d like me a whole lot more.”
The words hit me right in the center of my mama heart because my children mirror my weaknesses. They reflect me. I know what it is to dislike what I see, to wish it wasn’t so. I see his mood swings and her forgetfulness and the little one’s complaining and I see me. I don’t want to despise the weakness, the me I see, at the expense of their tender hearts. They are only as good as their DNA and the grace God gives them to overcome it.
I want to see the good and the strong, which requires a bit of patient unearthing while they are still tender shoots barely clearing the top of the dirt in which they’re planted. I want to apply the balm of grace to the weakness, nurture the growth of the strong, and till the soil of their youth so their roots grow wide and deep to support the growth above.
Later in his song, Bono says,
“You’re the reason I sing
You’re the reason why the opera is in me”
The reason our children sing or dance or write or make people laugh, or comfort the hurting, or show good judgement, or forgive, or have a heart like Jesus is because they received it from someone else first. And what do they do with this precious raw material? They look to us for ways in which to use it. We are their mirror. When they see us, they see their brand of crazy wrapped up in their brand of wonderful. In us, they see who they have the potential to be. In my reflection, I hope my children see how to acknowledge the weakness while embracing the virtue, and how God smothers it all in grace.