This is my oldest son who I have been known to call My Mick or "Mick". Without a doubt I knew this was meant to be his blog name. Let me explain. Four years ago when I decided I needed to get in shape I could not run continuously for a minute. He would ride his bike or Rip rider or Rip stick along side me cheering me on. With one eye squinted and speaking from the side of his mouth in his best old man gruff sounding voice he would say, "Come on Rocky you can do it." My own trainer for the fight. My Mick. Without fail, in my early days of running, he would be the first to ask me how my run had gone. "How'd you do? How far did you go Mom?" He would ride along with me entertaining me with the play by play of his school day. He didn't even mind being my water boy. It was nice to be just me and him, a reminder of when he was my one and only.
Ahhhh, the first born! What makes them so special? Is it simply because they are the first? Is it the reality of this little person who is a mixture of you and your mate, but yet they are unique? Or is it the sense of experiencing a miracle like no one has ever experienced it before? I'm not sure there are words to describe what exactly makes the first born so special, but my first born is special. He is our guinea pig and a pioneer. He bears with us as we try to figure out this whole parenting thing, and he is paving the way for his siblings. Having been a "middle" I had never really given it much thought as to how tough life might be for the oldest child in a family. My Mick is strong and up for the task. His Dad and I continue to be so proud of him. He is loving and caring, funny and so smart!! What kind of mother would I be if I did not mention his dashing good looks? With his wide, brilliant smile only stopping for his deep dimples he captivates me. How much time as parents we spend gazing upon these creations that are our children. Is it ever enough to realize the magnitude of the gift given?
After waiting more than two years to be pregnant with my first and then through the pregnancy I was more than confident I was prepared for all aspects of motherhood. It only took the trip home from the hospital, and the first five minutes of being at home with a new baby for that confidence to dwindle. I'm sure experienced parents chuckled as I was surprised time and time again by the unexpected having a child can bring. I certainly did not anticipate all the life lessons I would learn from this new little person. My Mick has so many attributes, but the one that comes to mind most often is his wisdom beyond his years. There have been numerous times I have looked upon him in astonishment at the words that rolled from his mouth. Where had he gained such knowledge? Allow me to share a couple of examples.
When Mick was around three or a little older I was outside cleaning our back porch. He was running around playing and enjoying the pretty weather. As I washed off our picnic table I came across an awful tick. I have a great hate for ticks! They are so disgusting. I called Mick over to show him this terrible parasite. I explained to him what made them so nasty. I told him they get on you, attach themselves to you and they suck your blood. I probably shivered as we watched it crawl on the table. He studied the bug and I said again, "they are just so nasty!" and he added, "Yeah, I know momma! Poli-TICKS are the worst kind." I was left speechless as he walked away like he had not just said something so funny and yet profound. Many, many times I have thought to myself, "yep, politics are the worst kind" as I have watched people compete to obtain more power, control or a greater status than another person. Just the other day our pastor talked about how even the disciples asked, "who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And as Jesus calls a little child over to them he said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." A life lesson learned from a child of mine.
Seeing life through the eyes of a child is not something you can be prepared for. They have this gift of seeing the world around them differently. When my Mick was around four and a half I had taken him and my youngest ( a 6wk old baby at the time) to the doctor for their check up. As we were leaving the Dr.'s office I stopped in the lobby to bundle the baby up in his infant carrier. I was down getting the baby all tucked in, Mick was standing over us watching me and talking, when from behind me I heard a man's voice say, "Excuse me, Ma'am could I look at your baby?" Well, all in one motion I read Mick's confused facial expression, spun around, and I think I actually gasped like I had been startled. You see, we were looking at a man who had been badly burned. There was not one visible place on his body that did not look like it had just melted from the heat. His hair was thin and patchy on his head. His eyes had been affected, and his ears were deformed. Hollywood could not have made him appear more gruesome. I mean no offense; I just want to give you a clear picture as to the severity of this man's scars. Remembering what he had asked, I did what we do when we see something out of the ordinary I smiled nervously and uncomfortably and picked up the infant carrier to uncover my baby. As the man looked at my baby he commented about how sweet and beautiful he was. He said something like he just loved new babies, and how precious they are, and then he spoke to Mick. I felt Mick hug my leg a little tighter as he looked out from behind me to tell the man his name and that he was four. The man then said he would like to show us his baby as he motioned over to a corner of the waiting room we could not see. As we stepped over to where his wife sat holding their baby he told us all about his little girl. He said she was nine months old, and he loved being a Dad. His wife smiled sweetly as I commented on how pretty their baby girl was. Their baby girl looked at us smiling and cooing like happy babies do. I wished them a Merry Christmas; they wished us the same and we made our way outside to the car. As we walked toward the van my mind was racing with how to explain to Mick what was wrong with the man we had just met when Mick interrupted my thoughts and said, "Well, that was a nice man." I stopped walking and just stared at him in awe, with this feeling of amazement, not at him but at what he had so simply put into words. We had encountered the same man and yet our perspectives were so very different. I chose to focus on the negative or the wrong and Mick chose to focus on the positive and the good of our having met this man. With my grown up eyes I only saw what was wrong, and yet his sweet soul looked beyond the surface. Another lesson learned from a child of mine.
Learning lessons from my children happens over and over for me. Although we are the ones raising them they are raising us up as well. I know these moments with Mick have made me a better person. He has this way of quietly convincing me I can do things I never thought I could do. In the Fall of last year, he was asked to join a team and run a half marathon. His willingness at first to say yes and then his determination in his training pushed me to train and run the half too. It was a first for both of us done together and yet apart. He would finish in 1:55 and place third in the nineteen and under division. I would make my way up the home stretch a little over thirty minutes later. He ran out to meet me ,running along beside me to the finish line. My Mick.
Last week I got a call from the school that Mick was hurt. He had mashed his finger. As I raced to get to the school my mind was reeling. The school nurse had said he needed to see a doctor. I got there and he came out with his finger bandaged up. I could tell he was hurting. I drove to the doctor's office with Mick rocking back and forth in pain. Thankfully, our wait was not long. Quickly, the nurse got us back to a room and the doctor came in to give the injury a look. He commented on how much Mick had grown since our last visit. They left the room and we were once again just the two of us. I thought about the doctor commenting about how year after year they watch their young patients grow. I looked at my own son laid out flat on the examining table, tall and lanky now. Where do the years go? It seems like yesterday that I was a nervous new Mom there with my infant son. An infant son who grew so quickly into a child who said the funniest things, like "if pee pee is number 1, and poop is number 2, is throw-up number 3??" Or when someone asked Mick what his jabbering baby sister was saying, he said, "I don't know. I don't speak baby!" Where did my first little boy go? He is growing up into a fine young man. He is the leader of our pack. He laid there that day being so strong. I sat with him smiling and talking to fill the silence. Looking away with tears in my eyes when I was overwhelmed with the intensity of the moment. My Mick. I will always be in his corner and I know he will always be in mine. Fighting the good fight and raising each other up!