I decided to start a new series on Mondays. I need someplace to share my thoughts and the day-to-day that goes on around my house. There have to be others who find themselves in a similar situation. Welcome to Starting Over at 54 – Parenting 2.0.
A year and a half ago, a cute little redhead boy came to live with my family and me. Jaxon is my grand nephew. He was about 16 months old at the time. Shy and so cute, his smile, of course, melted my heart. Who could say no to the request to take care of him while my niece got on her feet? I couldn’t because here I am, and that cute little redhead is still here. He will be three in November. His momma is still working hard to get on her feet.
Little boys are so cute, especially when they are still unsteady on their feet. They explore everything, and they have no fear of anything. Boys put everything in their mouth, clean or dirty; it doesn’t matter. Anything not tied down is fair game, and open doors are their ticket to freedom if you aren’t careful.
Oh, little boys are quick. One minute they are right behind you, and the next minute they are pulling all your folded laundry onto the floor. Their little fingers find all the electrical outlets. Electronic gadgets go into the mouth, and drool comes out. The play button doesn’t work quite the same.
My only child is a young woman now. My mothering days of running after toddlers passed long ago, or so I thought.
At 54, I am starting over, and this time it’s a boy! Wait! Where are the blue balloons and the cake? I want cake! What about the blue smoke. I didn’t get blue smoke.
Can I tell you that raising boys is completely different, and they are a different breed altogether?
I did not see this coming. I had no idea how different boys are. I guess I always knew that when dating boys, I never thought of them as babies; unless they’re sick, they can be some of the biggest babies we know.
My grand-nephew has no fear of anything. He is rough and tumbles. He runs everywhere until he gets tired. He investigates everything. My lovely little guy hates vegetables and loves sweets. Jaxon loves to play outside and fluff the flowers (aka strip the flowers). The dog and him rough house. He is all boy.
I remember my twenties. I wanted a long marriage to a wonderful man. I wanted six children.
Obviously, I had high hopes. Turns out I only had one child and looking back, I am glad. I had as many as I could handle. And the marriage, well long is not how I would describe it.
I have several friends who are boy moms, a few of them have all boys, and I didn’t realize what a huge job it is.
This little guy is one of the cutest, blue-eyed redheads you’ve ever seen. Ok, I am a little bias. Truth be told, red hair and blue eyes run in our family, so he comes by it naturally. However, he didn’t get the freckles like me. I was born with red hair, blue eyes, and freckles. My hair eventually lightened into a strawberry blonde color. I still have blue eyes that require glasses now.
With this new development, came lots of changes in my life.
Have you ever been coasting along, thankful you made it through the teen years with your kids? You celebrate their victories, and when they graduate high school you breathe a huge sigh of relief. You fall back in your favorite chair, kick your feet up and declare you have finished the race. You got them to graduation. They crossed the stage and you celebrate because they made it! The victory is also yours – you made it too!
Next up – relaxation. Work. Hang out with loved ones and friends. You finally have time to start that garden you always wanted to plant, maybe do some traveling, and work on the bucket list. If you want to lay around all day, you certainly have the freedom to do so.
You are moving along, and then bam! Life changes on a dime. A new turn of events shakes everything up around the house. Something or someone you never saw coming.
At 54, I am starting over.
Life changes when children enter your picture. You put fragile things away. Pack up the spare room/office. Move furniture around. Squeeze all those things you don’t use into the hall closet to deal with later. Tack foam bumpers on all sharp corners. Hang hooks on doors. Move the dog bowls. Buy rugs for tile floors. Add padding in and around coffee tables. Rearrange the kitchen pantry.
Make room for the new resident. This is more than just getting a new puppy. A bag of food, a water bowl, and a small comfy bed for the corner of your room – no problem.
My unexpected arrival required his own bed, his own food, changing table, a place to put his clothes, sippy cups, toddler spoons, special soap, toys, a stroller of some sort, car seat, and lots and lots of diapers and wipes. And, of course, I had to get a camera to see what he is doing in his crib.
Schedules changed. Meals changed. Conversations changed. Plans changed. Playmates changed. Sleep changed.
And then throw in covid-19. Now I am home-bound with a new toddler. The lofty plans of going to the zoo, city park, or even the mouse house in Orlando have been dashed because of the virus.
The beat goes on.
The whole house goes through an adjustment.
There’s an old saying I heard at church – “God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called.”
Truth and life in that saying. I was neither equipped nor ready for what was to come with this little guy.
Just yesterday, someone asked me if I journal. I do journal, but I hadn’t journaled lately, and not about this.
A year and a half later, my little redhead roomie is starting to show signs of something I never dealt with before.
I am starting to understand why he is here.
God knew Jaxon needed to be here.
I didn’t know, but I slowly realize why and I am scared and overwhelmed all at the same time. But I know there is no one else who can step up and do this. Jaxon is living with me for a reason. God chose me.
I spent many months grieving the loss of my plans for my life. But what I failed to accept during that time was the Lord’s plans for my life. The Lord has something else for me to do, and while it doesn’t involve teaching women the Bible, it does involve teaching and being taught. The problem is – I know very little about this subject, but I have a feeling I am going to become an expert pretty quickly. I have to for Jaxon’s sake.
The Lord has been faithful all these years. I don’t see him stopping that now. I seek him daily for wisdom and will continue to do so.
A lot has happened over the last eight months, and it’s time to start journaling about it. If it helps others, great. I have been helped immensely this past year. People have been so kind and supportive. I could really use their prayers now. I don’t share this for pats on the back or accolades, but because I know I am not the only one. Kudos to all those who are starting over.
There may be times I share more often during the week. I will share as the I feel the Lord lead.
The Lord has my back, I know, and in him I trust. He will see me through. Welcome to Starting Over At 54; Parenting 2.0.
The Teaching Lady