A week or two ago we went through our storage unit looking for treasures we could use in a newly remodeled bedroom here at home, as well as long forgotten stuff we could release to the trash bin. I am so anxious to thin out my life, and bit-by-bit that is happening. It’s a good feeling. Tucked in the back corner of the unit was a large bag filled with work that had been done by my now 25-year-old son when he was in the first grade. I smiled as I read the simple sentences and enjoyed the short stories that screamed innocence and creativity. Each carefully completed assignment had a happy face sticker, a star sticker, or perhaps the word “excellent” stamped in the middle of the page. Dallas received awards and accolades. He was a child brimming with hope and the promise of a bright future. The mommy I was to that bright little boy could never have imagined one day sitting in a prison lobby, waiting for my name to be called so I could spend 30 minutes visiting my incarcerated son.
Dallas did not take the road I had expected him to take, and certainly not the path I would have chosen for him. I would have chosen the safe streets, the careful course, or the respectable route. But really, what was my dream from the beginning for each of my children? It was that they would grow to be kind, honest, happy adults who know who they are and how very much we love them. I dreamed of them being game changers whose talents made a difference in the world. World shakers don’t often take the traditional road, so I see now that the safe way would not have afforded my son the tools that have helped to shape the man he is today.
What would I do differently if I had it to do all over again? Would I have punished Dallas more, spanked him harder, put him in special schools, home schooled him, or sent him to a military academy? It’s easy for people on the outside to give me their pious opinions and rose-colored observations. For MANY years I heard the gossip, rumors, judgmental criticisms, and the “if he were my son” advice and gibberish from people I had once called "friend". God CHOSE me to be Dallas’s mom and I took that calling both joyfully and seriously. I did the best I could and God equipped me with what I lacked.
And today? Well, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am so lucky to have had a front row seat to the miracles that are my children. I would never have chosen my path from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog of Paths, but I would have missed the journey! The little boy whose school work at age 6 revealed so much hope and promise is today a young man of 25 whose writings, music, words, and talent reveals so much hope and promise for this day and for the future. I’m so glad I didn’t give up my front row seat to the miracles that are my children.