You just have to love them

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I have said before that my youngest son was a handful. Had he been born first, he would have been an only child.

He was a surprise. We had experienced infertility issues with our oldest, but God knows best, and even when told we couldn’t have a family, we were blessed with our oldest….a compliant, quiet child.

Now, I was very ignorant, and assumed the second child would be just like the first one.

I had forgotten that my mother had put a curse on me by saying I would have a child just like me. I did.

When our son was 10 months old, I was outside with both of our boys. The phone rang, I asked my oldest son to watch his little brother, and ran inside to the phone. It was a wrong number. When I returned outside, the baby was gone. Panicked, I asked my oldest where his brother was. That’s when he pointed to our Volkswagon. There, standing on the roof of the car and bobbing up and down was my youngest. I almost had a heart attack.

A few months later, he climbed up on his father’s desk in the den. Just as I walked over to get him down, he picked up something and fell. Blood went everywhere. Turning him over, I saw that he had a hard plastic name tag that actually had gone through his lower lip.

We rushed him to the ER where they stitched him up. Several falls and ER visits later, the nurses told me they didn’t stitch mouth wounds anymore and to just use antibiotic ointment on it and butterfly tape it. They knew us on a first name basis there.

Eventually we moved to North Charleston, and my husband pastored a church with a parsonage on the other side of the parking lot. One day we all went to church, and when the service was over, I noticed a huge crowd standing by the back door. No one was leaving. I walked up and asked what everyone was looking at. Opening a space for me they all pointed to the door. There was my son, on the outside, hanging upside down from the bar across the back door. No one could leave.

One Sunday during Sunday School, I walked down the hall to my husband’s office. Inside, my husband was sitting at his desk frowning at our youngest who was sitting in a chair facing the desk. His teacher, a little old lady lovingly known as the church grandma stood there weeping.

“What happened?” I asked.

My son looked up, grabbed his throat with both hands and said, “My teacher tried to kill me and choke me.”

“No, I didn’t!” she cried. “I would never hurt any child,” she sobbed.

We assured her that we didn’t believe for one moment that she had tried to kill our son.

Questioning him, we again asked what happened. Once again, and very dramatically, he grabbed his throat and said that his teacher had tried to choke him and kill him. He was a four year old drama king.

The poor old lady sobbed harder and said, “He was misbehaving and climbed under the table. I reached to pull him out, but he dodged me and all I managed to grab was his shirt. (It had tightened around his neck…hence the “choking to kill me” stuff).

Later, the children’s workers decided to hold a Saturday Bible School every Saturday morning during the summer. Happily, I sent my kids across the parking lot to the church that first Saturday morning, thrilled to have time to myself.

An hour later there was a pounding at my door. There, was the Bible teacher standing with her fists clenched around my son’s shirt. With gritted teeth she shoved him in the door and said he was banned and couldn’t come back.

I glared down at him and asked why he had been kicked out. “Because I said a bad word,” he said. I almost had another heart attack. Evidently, he had heard profanity from somewhere and decided that Bible School was the perfect place to try out his new phrase.

Well, I finally got him raised, into a home of his own with his own kids. You think that would be the end of the embarrassing situations with him, right?

No.

Several months ago, we met with an old friend who used to direct our church music and children’s choirs. He asked how our youngest was doing and then laughed. “Yes, I had to kick him out of the choir; he was so bad. My wife sat with him during practice and read him Bible stories for years,” he said.

I was so embarrassed and shocked. I hadn’t known.

But he is now 38 years old. I can’t spank him, give him time out or even yell at him. So I did the next best thing.

I prayed he would have a kid just like him.

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