That’s the title of a book I should have written. I don’t know how many times my own mother, when hearing about her grandson’s latest “adventure,” would tell me that. Maybe if I was more organized and on-the-ball over the years I could have written it. But I guess it will remain a collection of memories tucked away in my thoughts, except for the few that I share every now and then when called for.
I knew exactly when Ian would be born. For medical reasons, his birth had to be scheduled. So I knew on this day my son would make his entrance into the world. And that’s about the only thing since, in the last 15 years, that hasn’t been an wild and unexpected, grey hair causing ride.
His first visit to the emergency room was around the age of 18 months, after taking a nose dive into the entertainment center and busting his forehead open. I had to call Steve at work, and tell him to meet me at the hospital. I can only imagine what horrible thoughts were going through his mind; his poor little boy at the ER with a head injury. What he saw when arrived for the most part left him standing there with his mouth open. Instead of finding me cradling an injured toddler and weeping profusely, he sees me running around the waiting area, chasing after “the boy” who’s running wildly with dried blood on the side of his face and a big band-aid above his eye. We did finally catch him and corral him long enough for the ER doctor to stitch his head up. He had a scar above his eyebrow, and you can still see it faintly today. But he’s grown, and the scar is at his hairline now.
In the years since, I decided that I needed to have any entire drawer in my kitchen dedicated to various first aid products. Not necessarily because he’s clumsy (although gracefulness was not something he was blessed with), but because he has such a wild sense of adventure, no fear and the desire to “live on the edge,” as much as a kid can. His second visit to the ER happened when he ran into an electric box near the playground at his school. He literally poke a hole in the side of his head; that time no stitches and they glued his head back together. One day he thought it would be fun to ride a rolling desk chair down a flight of stairs. (He was actually successful with no ER visits.) His greatest torment was when he wasn’t tall enough to ride the big roller coasters at Six Flags. Never mind that he was only 6 years old.
Shortly before his third birthday, we enrolled him in taekwondo. He needed something to do with all that boundless, uncontrolled energy. You can probably imagine that sparring was his favorite part. Any time that he was allowed to go all loco, he was on board. It did, however, turn out to be one of the best things we did for him as it taught him how to focus and control (most of) his wildness. Admittedly, we have contributed to the insanity by obliging his interest in things like skateboards. We even bought him these crazy ones when we were in Bangkok a couple years ago; at the time, only available in Asia. Two separate boards with two wheels…you know, so he would have to balance and have both feet going all sorts of directions? I have to give him credit though – for all of the crashes and catastrophes, he has an amazing level of pain tolerance. I think the two things I’ve heard most out of his mouth throughout his life were, “Well that wasn’t supposed to happen…” and, “Don’t worry, I’m OK!” He’s the main reason I color my hair, you know.
Some people are just naturally funny, and Ian is definitely that. Quick witted and always able to come up with the right thing at just the right moment, that boy has had me laughing till I cried more times than I can count.
There is one thing about Ian, though, that endears him to me more than anything else. And that is his big heart. Without ever having been taught to do so, Ian is the one who will stand by you till the end. If you are hurting, he is the first one to sit down next to you and offer a shoulder to cry on. He has always been a protector of others, even if he’s smaller than the one he perceives as the offender. As an elementary student, he thought nothing of walking right up to the much taller high school boy, who for a brief time was in his sister’s life, and telling him him, “I’ve got my eyes on you.” And he meant it.
It was apparent early on that Ian’s life would be a life of service to others. What that will look like once he’s grown into adulthood, I don’t really know. But what I do know is that God created him, and gave him all of these character traits, for something amazing. I think Ian knows that as well, and the incredible part of it is that even now, he’s willing to follow wherever God leads him.
There are days when I miss my little boy. My nickname for him, “Little Man,” no longer applies and it was hard for me to stop calling him that. The day we all realized that he had grown taller than me was a little sobering for me. But this is all part of the beautiful and heart-wrenching task that God gave me. He probably took one look at the crazy little boy-angel who was flying around, crashing into the Pearly Gates, and tumbling amongst the clouds, and said, “I’m going to give him to her.” I don’t know why God chose me for that boy-angel, but I am so grateful that He did.
Happy 15th birthday, Ian – I love you more than you will ever know.