Our son, Aaron is 16 years old. Today was his first day back as a Junior in High School. When Tim snapped this obligatory first day pic (although he allowed it begrudgingly) I thought, “But he’s my baby!” Yeah, some baby. He’s a whole foot taller and outweighs me by almost a hundred pounds! He and his brother have a band and he plays the drums. He picked up drumsticks at 3-years-old and that’s all she wrote. It was like he knew they were made for him. It has been amazing to watch as Aaron has matured throughout his childhood into his teen years. It’s my opinion that you know you’ve done something right when your child becomes the teacher. We’ve learned some valuable lessons from this “baby”.
I feel like I blinked and he is an adult now. I put together a little birthday gift for him when he was 9. It was all of his baby pictures and cards he had made for me over the years. I remember how he had tears in his eyes when he opened it. He had been communicating, not so much in words, but through his pensive silence that he was growing up and didn’t want to be treated like the baby anymore. I wanted to tell him how important he was in our family, so I put together that little album for him. I wanted him to see how much he was needed in completing our little circle of five.
He definitely was the spoiled baby of the family. He wanted me to attend every single Parent Day he had in Elementary School. I had home-schooled him during his Kindergarten year and taught him to read. Boy, was I proud! He had such an appetite for learning. His first-grade teacher said he was so bright and put him in an advanced reading group. Now, you know I was a proud mama! I had such a special connection with him. Every time I entered his class for Monthly Parent Day, I could see his eyes were locked on that doorway, waiting for me to come in. He’d smile and this mama’s heart would practically burst! And God forbid if I came in late! I absolutely loved spending that time with him. He wanted me to chaperone every class trip. That was hard since they didn’t let parents attend every trip. Somehow, Aaron had made such an impression on each teacher that they would just wink and let me on the bus anyway.
He had a way with people even at an early age. He was just about the cutest, little guy with those big, hazel eyes. He hates when I talk about him like this because he is a man now! Shaving and everything! I knew he was a special kid. He was always so tender-hearted. He had a soft spot for animals. And the underdog. Aaron struggled a bit with some fears. He was afraid that something bad could happen at any moment. If we were driving anywhere without his dad he would say, “I don’t feel right without dad here.” He had a mantra that became our family line. Every time something out of the ordinary happened he would ask, “Is that bad??” He had good reason because he was still young when Superstorm Sandy came through our community. It had a big impact on him and he had to work hard at dealing with fear.
He had such a great group of friends throughout Elementary School. Aaron worried about having to make new friends when he went into Middle School. We tried to enroll him into the specialized Middle School his older brother attended but entrance was only by lottery. When we entered him, he and I had a funny feeling he would not be attending there. He prepared himself for it. We received the letter from the school and before opening it he said, “Wait a minute. If it says I didn’t get in, then God didn’t want me to go there, right?” It broke this mama’s heart because he felt safer going to his big-brother’s school. Of course, he didn’t get in but he graciously accepted God’s decision.
On the first day of Middle School, his major fear were of bullies. He asked, “What if some big kid tries something?” We instructed him not to engage and immediately go to a teacher. When he came home from that first day, he had some story to tell. He told us as he walked into the schoolyard, he realized he was one of the biggest kids there! He saw all these little kids eyeing him warily. They were afraid of him! I was so relieved that he saw that God was always watching out for him and had his best in mind.
Aaron told us another story. There was a smaller boy there that he befriended from our church. He could see this boy was nervous as well. He looked out for him throughout the day since they had the same classes together. As Aaron was getting his food, he saw his friend across the lunchroom being bullied. The bully actually pushed and smacked him! Aaron ran over and stepped between them. The bully backed down immediately and Aaron reported it to the lunchroom teacher. That bully was suspended for 3 days. He began the day fearful but ended it as the conquering hero! It was something out of an after-school-special! From that moment on, Aaron knew his purpose. He made sure no smaller kid was ever bullied in his presence. He got a reputation for being the bodyguard.
So all along the way, God has been proving Himself faithful to Aaron. He overcame those childhood fears through struggle and adversity but overcame them, he did. As a family, we have seen God’s hand of provision and guidance. Whenever we have a moment of doubt whether or not we will see a trial through to its end, Aaron is the first to say, “But hasn’t God always provided for us?” He has taught me a thing or two about tenacity and perseverance. Blindly believing that God has the absolute best in mind, no matter what the outcome. I’d say the “baby” of the family turned out pretty good! The “baby” that teaches the parent.