Shadow Puppet

It was a full moon that night, shining on the pool water below. I hear little footsteps echoing down the hall headed towards the bathroom by our room.  As I lay in bed listening for the sound of a flush, I watch the water from below dance through the shutters and onto our bedroom ceiling. I know the socks he wore to bed are tucked in between his sheets and his cold little toes will soon be pushing me into his dad. He doesn’t want to be in the middle anymore, he likes to snuggle in my nook that is near the edge of the bed. I relish this snuggling. I am too tired to guide him back into his room. I am now sandwiched in between two people I love so much. As my arm falls asleep, tingling above my head-resting upon my pillow, I don’t want to move it so I don’t disturb my little boy. A little boy who will be waking for school in a few hours.
He will grow up one day and no longer need this nook.
A little boy who feels safe that I am there to protect him from bad dreams.

From the time he was 18 months old, big words, too big for his britches would fumble out of his mouth, “Wink at Me Baby.” Or as a commercial by Victoria Secret flashed across the screen, a little voice not yet 2 would say, “Oh la, she’s sexy.” At the age of 4 he wanted a shaved head so he could look like a grandpa. These little moments make me smile as I think back to his little past.
So many little memories of him too long to list.

His personality has grown over the last 7 years into a boy who’s imagination is full of adventure from the life he’s been able to live.

He is a little man in a boy body who reminds me, that I need to turn the light out when I leave the room. That I’m wasting energy. As he’s unpacking a grocery bag into the pantry he tells me, “You know the reason I help you put up groceries and clean up my room? Because you’re always working around the house doing chores and you look like you need some help.” A little boy who comes and whispers in my ear, “How many desserts can I have tonight, I ate all my food? The food that I like.”
As I glance, at his plate, that sits next to me on the dining room table, I think you shouldn’t get any dessert until your plate is clean but I understand, I didn’t like broccoli when I was your age. “At least you tried it. Let’s do better next time and take at least two bites.” So I buckle, knowing that in time he will grow, he will change and will continue to try new things.
“You can have 1 piece of candy Mayer, thank you for trying it even topped with cheese.”

This same little boy who enjoys adventure also doesn’t want to leave the house. He declares he’s a homebody. He tells me that he wants to be like Moses and part the Red Sea as we sit after school and do homework. I remind him that we have to leave the house for him to “see” the “sea” he wants to part. He’s a little boy who just hugged his Pastor who drives the school bus home and tells me that mom, we all need Jesus. We all fall down and he helps pick us up.

He complains about Monday and Wednesday night Tennis lessons but remembers his friend Yuto will be there and that he really does like it but he’s just been working too hard all day at school. He’s a little boy who is happy to see his mom’s hair out of a ponytail, blown out straight and makeup on. He reminds me that I need lipstick before we head out for a weekend of exploring as a family so I will look pretty and not boring.
A little boy who’s chomping at the bit to have his dad home from work so they can have “man” time. They hit the pavement riding their bikes for miles, kicking the soccer ball around, hitting the pool, or hit the green to hit some golf balls. I can’t forget their ultimate bonding time over MINECRAFT.

He’s also that little boy who can lose his temper pretty quickly. But knows that once that happens, it is time to go to the room and regroup in timeout. A little boy who has a mouth and talks back losing things that are fun; a birthday party or playdate, because you don’t talk to adults or anyone like that. He gets in trouble because he’s kissing on a girl or lets a class that is giving a presentation know that it is boring. He is sent to the principal’s office for voicing those thoughts he should have kept inside.

He’s also the same kid who cries when people are mean to him or give him a dirty look. He explains that he gets mean back because they were mean to him first. He can be tough but his heart is so sensitive and full of mush. Making me think that our teachings to him to love people and respect people will throw him into outcastville because of the world we live in today.
The world of self-service. The world that it is all about me and my needs.
I think about how he’s become a shadow of his parents.

As parents we aren’t just raising children-we are raising adults that will be a reflection somewhat of ourselves; a shadow puppet of sorts that will one day leave the safety of the master’s puppet shadow for good. We set our children up for success or failure in life. Success to me isn’t about the degree or how much money you make; but being able to sing through things you don’t like, knowing there is a purpose for it. We instill what we think success is inside our children.
Little ears have big brains and repeat words and actions from what they have learned at home or from the friends around them.
It’s in our hearts and environment that our little shadows thrive and grow.

As I lay in bed thinking about how much I love my son-how he makes me smile, laugh, cry and challenges my inner most being at times, I think about his little life and how he’s being sculpted by events that have opened our eyes to the world around us. How all the places and cultures he’s been to and has lived in are making him who he will be tomorrow. Our son has acclimated incredibly well through so much change. He’s getting older but still not too old to sneak in our room at night and rest in my nook. He still wants dad to tuck him in first when it’s time to go to bed and be carried as dad promised to do it until he couldn’t anymore. He reminds me that I have to go last to say goodnight because he can’t go to sleep without me singing, Sing Sweet Nightingale.

Laying there that night watching the moonlight mingle with the water, creating shadow puppets high above my bed, trying to go back to sleep-I think about how my son continues to grow with continued spunk, opinions, love and being a normal boy. What kind of man will this little boy become once the moments that are under the shadow of the night are gone forever.

What kind of life will our little shadow puppet choose to live one day?
I close my eyes and pray to the Lord that wherever he goes he’ll be walking in the shadow of Jesus. That he’ll continue to protect him from the evil that surrounds us.
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego went into a fire and came out untouched. Did you know that mom? Do you know why?” I think back to the question and me asking him, why? “Because God saved them.” I pray our son will continue to choose to live a life for God.
I love you shadow puppet remember there will always be safety in my shadow and the most important nook of all, the nook of our Lord Jesus.

{Photos from this blog are from Paris and Normandy France.}

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