How to raise a little man

He stands in the doorframe of our front door, carhart jeans on, camo hat, extra tuff boots, a walkie talkie in hand and is pleading with me to just let him play 20 more minutes and then he will go and do his chores. His need to fill his lungs with the fresh air outdoors, run through the woods chasing Zombies or bad guys, while feeding that very smart brain of his makes me cave as I let out a sigh and say “ok, but you better answer home base when I call” as I hear the door slam shut mid-sentence…

These are our days, his needs verses how to set and uphold limits is now our new struggle. I hadn’t expected the last few months to be as challenging as they have been. My quiet, always respectful and rule following child has turned into a high functioning, autonomous, fast thinking, and at times mouthy child.It can’t be easy being the oldest, naturally he gets leaned on more, the expectations and rules are first tried out on him and then slowly adapted as his parents figure out this whole parenting thing. He is quick to see the injustice and is finding a voice that lacks any understanding or better yet a sense to stand down when he hears something he doesn’t likeI spend my days wondering if I am not being fair. Am I too hard on him? Does he think we ask to much of him? Is he frustrated we are having another baby? Will he grow out of this phase soon? 

 After hearing some news his little heart didn’t want to hear, a dear friend and sunday school volunteer sent him a letter in the mail, encouraging him, telling him God loves him and trust him to handle this situation. In that moment I was yet again reminded how he needs more people, solid adults, people not his parents to help raise him up.  

I am so very thankful for our friend Joel who doesn’t find him to be an annoying little kid that follows him around like a puppy, but instead lets him tag along and do “men stuff”. Our friend Kevin is willingly helping coach his baseball team this year even though he doesn’t have kids of his own. The various ladies in church who cross his path in Sunday School have taken him under their wings and shower him with a genuine love that pours easily from their hearts.  

After doing a bible study a few months ago, I sat at my kitchen table, worship music in the background, sleeping babies in their rooms and me alone staring at the paper that showed me I only have 10 more years left with him before he sets off into the big world. 10 yrs may seem like a long time to some of you, but to me it seems like a blip in my journey being his momma. 10 yrs ago I was a few months away from marrying my highschool sweetheart, I was finishing my junior year in college, I honestly didn’t even have an inkling of a child in my future. I was focused, going to be a career woman who if she was blessed with children would hand them off each day and go pursue my passion in the workforce…

Only in God’s perfect ways would I find myself 10 yrs later finding my biggest struggle to not be pioneering some new therapeutic intervention in the healthcare field, but instead figuring out how to raise a respectful young man, who thinks of other’s needs before his own and has a heart hungry to know who God is. 

 We began to see him struggle more and more as the day was approaching that he would yet again be left behind as the rest of his family left for medical appointments. His sisters and momma all had appointments and the trip would not be any fun, but instead all business. We asked him if he could handle staying back with his nana and explained that we are trying to save for our family trip we are planning, but could use that money to have him tag along on the medical trip. His mind quickly reasoned his answer and he decided staying back with his nana was worth it in the long run. It didn’t mean however he wouldn’t make snide comments or pout when the girls talked about leaving for Seattle. I decided throwing him an indoor soccer game for his birthday on Palm Sunday, a day we usually try and rest after church, had to happen for him to know we loved him. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to him and I saw the pure joy on his face as he played hard with his friends. 

When we called to say happy birthday to him since our medical trip was the week of his birthday, I know the worst time to plan it, it really was unavoidable, we heard him in the background respond to his nana saying “what family, I don’t have family” when she told him we were on the phone… 

 William Cayden Harney is quick witted, a fast thinker and incredible deep all at the same time. I feel for his friends, because I think sometimes they just don’t get his humor. He can be so grown up most of the time and then all of sudden slip and show us he is just a typical 2nd grader that is going to have outbursts, fight with his sisters and be selfish at times. Even though this year has been a big learning curve for his parents, we still sit in awe, when we realize 8 yrs ago God thought we could handle being parents. 

 Cayden has forever changed us, his little life drew us to God, made us reevaluate our ideals on careers and where we would grow roots. His presence made us grow together as a couple even when the nights and days seemed to blend together. With each sibling added to his family, I have seen him find a way to make room for them, to have a special unique bond with each sister, but also a different approach to how he communicates with them. I know he questions why he has so many sisters, but I am reaffirmed many times in my heart that he is just what their little hearts need. One of my biggest fears is that when 10 yrs comes to be our present life, we will all be unable to untangle our lives from him, that these days of figuring out how to survive his constant changing mood, will be days we long for when his absence is too hard to accept. 

 For now, I am thankful to say that my little man is 8 yrs old and God had a beautiful plan when he breathed life into this soul that finds ways to minister to us all even when he doesn’t even know it. Happy birthday Cayden 


2 thoughts on “How to raise a little man”

  1. Oh, Sarah…how sweet it is to read and remember the same struggles w our oldest when he was that age. It’s not easy being 8…and having to figure out life. You and Richard are doing just fine (because of your commitment to God) and you will find that while you will spend alot of time on your knees, it’s soooooo worth it. My little 8 year old is now 32 years old and still finding his way in life and I still spend time on my knees. Enjoy each day one at a time💖

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