I brought the little brother, who’s now also an older brother, out on a date last week. I honestly can’t recall how long ago since we went out one on one, intentionally, so you can imagine that this was very much needed.
(Sometimes I feel guilty for not having spent as much time on him, compared to big sister. And wonder if we’ve shortchanged him in terms of love, attention, and time.)
I racked my brain for a nice spot we could both enjoy, and decided on one of our favourite spots – the botanic gardens. He loves to feed the fishes there. He also likes tumbling at FFT’s playground so while I have my coffee, he can run around, I thought. Win win.
And so we did.
I was hopeful that the date would bear fruit in terms of less cranky behaviour in the day or two ahead. I thought it would benefit him, and provide some assurance of his standing in my heart.
What I didn’t count on was realising the fact that my heart actually needed healing from all the negativity and scolding associated with bringing up my middle child.
Somewhere between his gobbling up of his scone (with glee and gusto in equal parts) and my sipping my coffee, it hit me. I haven’t taken the time to truly enjoy this boy. He’s such a gift in our lives – his comic antics, nonsensical words, his funny stunts and jumps, his infectious smile and laughter, his funny (mostly fail) attempts to speak mandarin.
I’ve been so engaged in dealing with his moodiness and upset feelings, I’ve unknowingly started to see him as a chore, a problem to be fixed.
I’ve overlooked his cheery gleeful side, that pops up like a bright yellow balloon against blue sky, and his unquenchable excitement that bubbles out from within him when he hears or sees something new.
Re-discovering His Gifts
JJ has a sensitive and sweet spirit that often observes and notices people’s feelings. It is this same sensitivity that appears to be causing his mood swings whenever he feels he is being overlooked or left behind. But I’m thankful I learnt recently that for each character weakness, lies a potential area of strength.
I’m starting to see that his heart for helping and paying attention to others’ needs can be honed and moulded for much good.
I pray I will continue to see him for the person he is, and the person he is capable of being.
Dear JJ, you are my ice-cream surprise on a sunny day, my pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
You’re not my problematic middle child, you’re God’s precious gift to us, and unique gift to the world.
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