Earlier this week we went to get Zeke’s senior yearbook pictures.
On the way, I noticed his hands. Working hands. Hands that look familiarly like my dad’s work-stained hands and like Brandon’s in the early years of our marriage. I told him not to worry about it because they were doing head-shots. I was wrong.
As we sat in line, I notice kids in letterman jackets with their class rings. And I notice Zeke’s stained hands. I began to tear up.
Have I given him everything a parent should give to their child as he has grown up? He works out in the heat, 30-40 hours a week during the summer. He didn’t want a class ring or a letterman jacket. He didn’t get a new car. The mommy comparison game tells me I didn’t show him how much I love him with things. I left there feeling bad about myself and how we have raised our son.
I’ve been reflecting the last few days and crying a lot, honestly. I apologized to Zeke and he laughed at me. He said, “Why are you sorry? Because you’ve taught me to work hard for things I want? Because I know the value of a dollar? Because I’m not going to think that I deserve to have everything I want?”
And my sister reminded me that the best things in life aren’t things, but relationships, and any shortfalls in my parenting are covered by God’s grace. So mama’s, if you’re struggling with the parenting comparison game, just know that God gave you the babies you have because he wanted you, YOU, to be their mama. Not someone else.
I am beyond proud of Zeke, who has taken his brother shopping for a canoe today, using his money that he earned in a vehicle that he fixed with his own hands and gas he paid for by himself. I’m not ready for Zeke to grow up, but I think he’s well on his way.