I look at Liam and think my word, he looks so much like his father. Had I not gone through a 13-hour labor, I'd believe that Chris underwent a quasi-mitosis while I was asleep and voila! A son!
The other day Liam played bingo in his Spanish class and he saw that his friend Emma was valiantly trying to hide her tears brought on by not winning a single game. He was apparently one piece away from winning but he walked over to her and quietly offered her one of his game pieces anyway and told her that it was okay, here, he hopes she wins this next round. He had no idea that his teachers were watching him with tears in their eyes; one of them stole away to tell me what he did as I sat with other moms watching our younger children play.
Stories like that are what stop me from tearing my hair out during the times he sasses me, balks at doing his history homework, or says that he likes that Green Day song on the radio, can I please turn it up?
I'm learning that parenting isn't about immediate results, it's about planting the seeds and watching what develops over time, especially those times when they're not under your supervision. Instead of water, patience and nurture help those seeds to grow and achieving the right balance is the ultimate trial of parenthood. Everyday I say a prayer and cross my finders that I'm up to it.