I don’t know what it’s like to co-parent since I’m a widow single mom. Sometimes I wish Richard was still here, but I do know God wanted me to be Samuel’s mother and the only one raising him. So the whole responsibility of parenting this kid is on my shoulders. Needless to say, if I screw up, it will be my fault or at least my doing. Since husband passed away until today, I’ve prayed day and night for God to provide me with wisdom and for God to guide me to raise my kid the right way. So when I see my kid doing the right thing wherever he goes without being asked and without me being around, I know God answered my prayers.
My kid is by no means a saint or the most well behaved and quiet kid ever. He is an active kid who has good and not-so good days even when he prays every morning to behave, do and say the right things. He killed a section of my St. Augustine grass with the weed killer after I told him several times to stay away from it; he’ll confess and tell me he’s sorry for not telling me the truth; he whines and cries when he has to clean up his room or his mess; he’s a picky eater just like his father; he’s strong-willed and stubborn but he’s loving, adorable and he loves me. We are just like any regular family, we yell, we fight, we cry, we make peace, we drive each other crazy but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The kid is a son of his father and his mother, and he’s just like the both of us in every way. He’s really smart, he loves math, he loves art and physical education. Both Richard and I were straight A students, extroverted, talkers, kept our parents holding their breath because we were both quite active, always curious and exploring. I wish I could tell Richard his kid is as bright and awesome as he was. I’ve told the kid more than once he has no other choice but to step up because not only does he come from good stock, both his dad and I had set the bar quite high for him. My expectations are quite high because we were both raised with high expectations.
So people ask me why we named him Samuel, I tell them that just like Hannah, I prayed and cried for a long time for God to bless me with a son, and since He did, I’ve prayed for Him to help me raise the kid for Him. I want my kid to become a man with character and integrity, a man in the traditional sense of the word, a man who serves God because it’s his heart to do so. I want him to be a leader and a role model. He’s an only child, but I won’t allow him to be a brat on steroids. God willing, the kid will grow up to be an awesome man and human being, and I’ll make sure of it.
Well, this summer has shown me God might be steering us both in the right direction. When we get to church, Samuel goes and helps remove the rope to open areas up for people to sit, then he goes up the stage to talk to the worship team, he saves seats for my cute old lady friends and then helps them get to their seats. His teachers from daycare and school have told us both they love that I nip in the bud any bad behavior on the spot and I would ground him accordingly. I don’t want him giving any teacher any grief, but I also explain why I want good behaviors in him. We talk about what’s expected of him, what wanted and unwanted behaviors are.
Today at karate, I saw my kid helping other kids get their kicks and punches right, showing them the whole routine. The grandmother of a couple of kids told me about it, and then she thanked Samuel for helping her grandkids. She told him what a great kid he was for helping other kids. When I talked to the kid about it, he said it felt pretty good to be a good example and to help others. That was my Kodak moment, a proud moment for this mama. My Sam is patient and empathetic with other kids, he’s kind and loving, but when other kids are mean to him, I chop heads off on the spot. Yes, I’m that bear mama who’ll make your kid be sorry for even thinking to mess with my kid in the first place. Nobody messes with my kid, and yes, I go straight to the teacher or principal or director and tell them what I said to whom and why.
We are both learning as we go, I’m not a perfect mom and he’s just a loving active little boy. He’s learning about learning to listen, to use his awesome brains, to behave for his teachers at school, daycare and Bibleland and to hold my fin (remember Marlin telling Nemo: “hold my fin!”.) I’m learning about patience, about not losing my marbles if I have to say the same thing more than 28 times, but also about holding my tongue when I see he needs to figure things out on his own. I see that I wasn’t wrong in telling him how things really are instead of treating him like a kid who won’t get it or keeping him in a bubble, because it has made him a better kid who knows what’s expected of him.
By the time I became a mom at 36, I had plenty of years to learn from every mom I came across with, including my own mother. I had enough time to figure out what kind of mama I wanted to be, what I wanted out of my son, and I’m working towards it. I want Samuel to be an active kid, because I was an asthma kid. I love being a soccer mom, a basketball mom, a baseball mom and a karate mom. Of course I have doubted myself, times I felt I was a horrible mom, worried the neighbors would call the cops on me when I’ve yelled at the kid after the kid didn’t do what I said the previous 28 times. Then there are times when I see him in action. God gave me this wonderful little kid, and I can’t help but feel more grateful, more blessed and more than proud of being his mama.
And today, today was one of those proud mama days!