Here’s something I wrote about my son a while ago:

Julia was reading a book earlier this week, and she told me about it – that the author talked about being “poised.” And I kinda laughed and said, “I guess I need it, too,” because I’m about as clumsy as a person can be. And messy. And pretty clueless most of the time. And she laughed, because she knows it, and said, “Yeah. You’re definitely not poised.”

But then she was quiet for a little bit before she said, “Well, maybe you are kind of poised.”

There’s got to be a punchline, right? Because we just laughed about how un-poised I was. I said, “In what way?”

She said, “Well, it’s true, you’re clumsy. But you’re kind of poised cuz you never get upset about stuff. Nothing ever bothers you and you don’t worry, you just kind of laugh through life. I want to be as carefree as you. So, I guess you are kind of poised.”

Aww…right? And there was no punchline. I’ve been kind of beating myself up in here lately, so I thought it’d be okay if I wrote that, I mean, I really am clumsy, but I do have a redeeming quality or yeah. Just one, I guess. : ) 

Okay, so about my oldest son – the one I mentioned a few newsletters ago and said that I had “disciplined” him two or three times per day for his first decade or so.

I kind of struggled with what to say…I have so many stories of him, but I didn’t have just one stand out. A lot of them involve blood and the ER and aren’t really funny. : )

He was one of those babies that cried all the time. Maybe you had one? I was alone my first night home from the hospital, since my husband had gone to work after he brought me home. Alone, with this newborn that screamed non-stop, no matter what I did.

I knew almost nothing about babies. They kinda gave me a little lecture in the hospital about how to feed him, which I was not very good at, and I was also in a lot of pain, and none of those are stories fit for the newsletter, so we’ll just move on.

It was about one or two in the morning, he’d been screaming for hours, I was crying almost as hard as he was, (I hadn’t gotten poised yet, apparently). I couldn’t call my mom – she had to teach school in the morning – in other words, I would have literally died before I called my mom – speaking of dying, I was pretty sure that’s what was happening with my child. 

Talk about the night that never ended. I don’t even have words to wrap it up. We survived, I guess.

Eventually he checked out okay with the doctor. They kind of chuckled at me and said it’s normal for babies to cry.

That son pretty much cried constantly from the time he was born until he started walking, thankfully early, at nine months. (I’m not making that up.) He was also talking in full sentences by the time he was a year old. (I’m not making that up, either. I’m not sure he always understood what he was saying, and I could tell some stories about that, but I’d better not. : )

He was always at least three steps and four messes ahead of me, never content where he was and always into something that he wasn’t supposed to be in. Always. Every single day.

One day when he was two, I sat down in the living room to feed his newborn brother. Seriously, like ten minutes. He disappeared.

There was snow on the ground (I guess that was a good thing, since once I determined he – my two year old – wasn’t in the house, I was able to look out the back window and see little footprints going up the yard and through the fence row at the back.) 

It was freezing cold outside and the snow was about four inches deep. At the time we lived completely isolated in the middle of fields on the top of a hill, cut through by wooded fence rows. The wind was always blowing.

I had no choice but to put my newborn in his crib, throw my boots on and head outside into the blowing snow, following the little footprint trail of my two-year-old through the fence row. I got to the other side of it and found one of his boots.

Doesn’t that just make a mother’s heart hit the ground with a painful splat? 

It was probably a half a mile to the top of the hill and the kid was no where in sight. Thank God for the snow, right? Although now I know he’s got one bare foot.

Anyway, up to then, I hadn’t been too worried, because it was only ten minutes. But I can’t see my son and it’s cold, windy and he’s barefoot in the snow. I start jogging.

In my head I’m seeing my kid frozen to death and myself in jail and wondering who is going to raise my newborn that is completely unsupervised back at the house with no one watching him. I’m trying to think if I left any candles burning.

Anyway, I crest the hill at a dead sprint, and yeah, there’s my kid, clear down the other side and heading…goodness, I don’t even know where. There were no houses in sight. There were just fields and fence rows. I had no idea where he was going, but he was trucking along, one bare foot that didn’t seem to bother him at all. 

So, I’m happy he’s alive.

I’m also thinking about cages.

So, I grab him…you know how you want to hug them and murder them at the same time? Right. He’s still alive, so apparently I had a little self-control, despite being young and dumb. 

I think I mentioned he was talking in complete sentence by the time he was one. His verbal skills were well developed, but he couldn’t tell me where he was going, why he left, or when, exactly, he was planning on returning.

His whole childhood was definitely a trial by fire.

Looking back, I’m kind of surprised that I had more children.

Part of the reason I decided to homeschool was because I was almost certain the school would put him in a strait jacket.

I could tell a lot of stories about this kid, like the time he burned his eye brows off (again, not kidding) and also the time he almost lost some of his inside body parts. I’m not sure that one’s fit for mixed company.  And, just fyi, we were able to hold them in until we got to the ER.

He’s the kid that bought the guy in Cincinnati a Pepsi. Honestly, as hard as he was to raise, that’s his heart, right there.

When he was seventeen, he drove from PA to Kansas. He turned eighteen and the next day he took the test for his CDL. The day after that, he drove a rig hauling a combine to Texas to work on a harvest crew like I talk about in a few of my later Sweet Water Cowboy series. He was all over the midwest and Canada that year.

That kid isn’t afraid of anything. Most of the time I wish he were.

Anyway, with my parents getting older, he volunteered to live with them – it’s not too far from our house.  

Last week he just got back from a missions trip to Belize. I could totally see him being a missionary, only Belize is too tame for him. Maybe some place in South America where there are drug wars or head hunters or cannibals. Not that I necessarily want him to go to such a place, but God has definitely equipped him with the capability.

You know, as much as we butted heads while he was growing up, I thought he’d hate me for the rest of my life. It really surprises me sometimes that he doesn’t.

Last Sunday Julia and I were at my parents’ house, and I hadn’t really talked to my oldest son since he came home from Belize. While we were there, he came into the room and lay down on the couch where I was sitting, putting his head on my lap. He showed me the pics on his phone and talked about his trip.

After a while, I was chatting with my parents, my son had fallen asleep, and my daughter took a pic.

And I remembered the verse – Children are a blessing from the Lord. How true.

Thanks so much for spending time with me today.

~Jessie 🍁

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