Jacob and I were picking up his toys this evening, when out of the blue he kicked me hard in the ribs. I immediately walked away and had a little cry in the bathroom. First because it hurt, second because times like that are the worst for a parent. When we are lovingly giving of ourselves to play with and teach our child and- WHAM!- a completely unexpected attack. It feels so personal to me when I think we are getting along and enjoying being together and he obviously thinks otherwise, hence, a kick in the gut or a punch in the chest.
Jacob's personality changes like a switch going off. He's riding a pendulum, swinging from two opposites- the calm, creative, loving and silly kid we all adore, and the mean, aggressive, unforgiving, tireless tyrant he is the other half of the time. There is very little middle ground. So having Jacob pleasantly picking up blocks one second and lashing out the next is a regular thing.
My child, only 8 years old and acts so much younger, scares me. I am still heavier and taller an he is, but for how long? Madison and he are the same height, but he outweighs her by 60lbs. She, as you can imagine, can be quite terrified of him. She has taken to wailing out in fear when he is coming towards her, no matter if he just wants a high-five or a hug. Its no way to live, being fearful and on constant guard from attack.
My emotions swing right along that same pendulum. The fear and helplessness of being responsible for this child who can challenge adults with his monstrous body, who has hurt me, intentionally or not, many times. I worry when walking down the stairs next to him that he will push me. I tense up when he is coming towards me, not knowing if it is for a hug or to push me over. I can honestly say that Jacob intimidates me.
The on the other side of the emotional wheel is where I'm balancing, trying not to slide too much towards seeing the glass half empty. Keeping my chin up. Looking on the bright side. Being resilient. It can be really tough some days, trying to keep everything in perspective and positive. I'm not great at it, but I try. I try.
Why? Because I see happiness shining in his eyes and kiss that chubby face and feel such affection and love towards my son. I know this path we are on together may only get harder, and is definetely the rockiest path I've ever been down. All that keeps me going is love. It is what I fall back on everytime the road gets too rocky- Chris and the kindness and tenderness he shows me, Tyler and the way he hugs me tight and tells me I'm great, Madison's creative, teasing way of making it know that she loves me, and Jacob bringing me flowers from the yard or kissing me up and down my arms.
My saving grace in the hardest times is the love I have for my family and the love my God shows to me. It carries me.