A son just like you

I vividly remember my parents telling me….my mother in a threatening, exasperated tone and my father in a humorous, I can’t wait to watch it happen tone….that one day, “You’ll have a son just like you.”  

Being the flippant, self assured young man that I was, and thoroughly convinced that I’d never have any kids anyway, I confidently assured them that, “I hope I do, he’ll be the easiest son in the world to raise.”

Fast forward twenty-something years.  I have that son, and it’s not quite as easy as I expected.

It’s not as easy as I expected, but not for the reasons my parents expected.

I can handle the sometimes surly attitude, the on-the-edge-of-frustration temperament and the ever present eye rolls.

I deal with those because when I look at my son I know exactly how he’s feeling.

I know that the eye-rolls aren’t intentional.  I feel the same frustrations that he does with people and life and those frustrations manifest themselves in my attitude the same way they do with his.  At nearly any moment I can look at him an know the emotions he’s feeling.

And that’s the thing that makes having “a son just like me” so hard.  I know exactly what he’s feeling.

He didn’t just inherit his eye-rolling from me.  He also has so many of the fears that I do.  He’s self-conscious about the same things that I am.

And when I see him worried, or self-conscious or embarrassed I don’t just understand it.  I feel it.  And it breaks my heart for him.

But when I feel that pain I also know that it’s a good thing, because it lets me know that nobody else in the whole world is as prepared to be his dad than I am.

There’s a reason that God gives us our children.  They’re good for us, but we’re also uniquely suited to be good for them.