Whenever I look at my children sleep, I am overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy in giving me this awesome privilege to be part of shaping a destiny. Somehow as I watch them sleeping peacefully, I forget the hard work and the tensions of the day and I am filled with such love for this young people who give me a run for my money.
Sleeping they look so calm I can barely make out the picture of the little tyrants who make me speak at volume ten and almost pull out my hair. Sometimes our house resembles a warzone and I am often confused whether my chief role as a parent is to nurture or to mitigate. The number of cases I get to solve in a day could qualify me for law school. If I make the mistake of buying one treat, it has to be cut with the precision of a surgeon to ensure fairness.
I am seriously considering buying a kitchen scale, not to measure recipes but to measure sweets, chocolates and other things that the boys might need to share. Yet sleeping they look absolutely harmless.Even in sleep their different personalities are obvious. Toriah is sprawled across the bed, his beddings kicked to the bottom of the bed. Like me he can’t bear to have his feet covered.
Tj is lying in one place, he too is uncovered but his beddings are put away at the side a little more orderly. Unlike Toriah, he is not all over the place; both my children, both so different Before I became a parent, I never really understood how two people could be from the same parents and yet be so different. After I got Tj and Toriah, I realised that children are not mere replicas of their parents but are individuals, different and unique. Yes I can see some things in both my children that remind me of their father or me and yet I see their own uniqueness.
This individuality is seen in how they solve conflict, the way they react to things and even in their choice of clothes and toys. Toriah enjoys his own space, he does not really need to be with others to have a good time, and he is also easier going. Tj on the other hand energises through people.
Alone he gets pretty bored and he can fire questions faster than a lawyer in court. He is also more easily distracted. From the time he was a baby, Toriah could spent two hours playing drums on his own, whereas Tj would much rather play with the neighborhood children. This understanding of their differences has helped me learn how to best deal with infractions.
If Toriah does something wrong and I make him go to his room or stand in a corner, it is not much punishment for him, and he can easily do this and not get bored. He will simply go to his happy place. Tj on the other hand would rather be spanked than grounded. It kills him to imagine other children are playing and he is stuck in a room by himself.
Yet sleeping some of this differences fall away and the vulnerabilities begin to show. As I watch them I am transported back in time. Instead of the little men sprawled out in bed, I see little bundles who needed a back rest to stop them from rolling onto their faces, then I see toddlers whose fingers are stuck in their mouths as they sleep.
They still open their mouths and snore slightly (okay perhaps not too slightly – all the same it is still music to my ears). The feeling remains the same no matter the passage of time. I recognise the fact that one day they will be grown men, sleeping in their own homes and I will no longer have the opportunity to sneak into their rooms and watch them sleep. But I can bet that even then, the feeling will still be there; this overwhelming need to take them into my arms and shield them from all evil.