What this family of two really needs
This morning was a weird one. And not just an overly-dramatic 'Reb and Reubs' kind of weird. I mean, there was that normal routine-level of weirdness. You know, with our expertly choreographed 'Pre-Porridge Dance' to Despacito and the inevitable squabbling over whether Reuben should dress himself or whether I should remain enslaved to him for the rest of my days, obviously only taking time off to buy new Paw Patrol stickers and stock up on chicken nuggets.
Anyway, having survived all of that and the mad dash to the car with our toothbrushes still in our mouths, I threw myself down in the driver's seat only to realise that it was, in fact, 7.30am and not 8.30am. And we'd been awake since 5.45am instead of 6.45am. And Reuben was going to get to watch several episodes of Paw Patrol instead of zero episodes of Paw Patrol. And I was going to drink 4 mugs of coffee instead of 2 mugs of coffee.
And I was going to give myself the, 'You are an idiot - get your life together' pep talk before 8am instead of before 9am.
But this wasn't the weirdness in my weird morning. Later on, once we eventually got going (obviously still running late because I am who I am) Reubs drifted in and out of sleep but woke up just in time to sit in traffic and watch other kids go into school on the Ormeau Road. I caught him in the mirror as his eyes widened and he took a second glance at a boy crossing the road in front of us;
"Mum! That boy's on his own!!" he comments provocatively.
"Yeah, he's a bigger boy though. You're still way too young to walk to school on your own" I warn him. (In true overly-dramatic-mother-fashion, I imagine one minute he's walking to school on his own and the next he's married with 3 kids.)
"Yeah, he's so big he doesn't need his mummy and daddy".
"Well, he still needs them but he doesn't need them to walk him to school".
"I don't need a daddy. I just need a mummy..." He pauses while I hold my breath, dying inside and praying for the right words to say.
He continues, "...you're the mummy by the way".
And just like that, we both laugh at his clarification and he goes on to tell me that squirrels made out of lego aren't real, but that you can pretend they are real. And just like that, I realise I don't need to say anything at all.
For the rest of the car journey, I sat in silence, feeling winded. In fact, for the rest of the day, I've felt like the breath has been knocked out of me. Just incase you're the last soul on earth who hasn't heard my latest drama, last Sunday morning I slipped coming out of our caravan, fell on my backside, and literally winded myself - I lay there like a flailing seal, silently screaming in agony. And today, I had a similiar pain, except today it was in my heart instead of my potentially fractured butt-bones.
Conversations like this one are coming up more frequently, always so innocently, but for sure more frequently. And I find it hard to articulate the weight they carry. I find it hard to articulate the weight of being solely responsible for another human being. I find it hard to articulate the weight of sorting out finances, the weight of choosing schools, the weight of figuring out how the heck disciplining should work, the weight of not knowing how the heck boys even work, the weight of always coming home to an empty house, the weight of watching him process that we are a family of 2. The weight that it's all on me; a ditsy 23-year old who can't read the time and can't go a week without injuring herself in some shape or form.
Today, as he simply announced, "I don't need a daddy. I just need a mummy" then went back to simple squirrel-chat, I didn't know what to say. But I really didn't need to say anything at all. Although he doesn't know it, he was right. While Reubs was designed to have a dad, because of God's grace he doesn't need one.
For Reuben, that grace looks like a heavenly father who loves him more than he could ever imagine. It looks like a big, unconventional family who would give anything for him. And it looks like amazing people who make sure he doesn't miss out on anything - including insane football skills (have you seen his left foot?!), nerf-gun wars, and muddy forest adventures.
For me, that grace looks like knowing I have Jesus, and so I am never alone. It means looking at the cross, where He gave up everything for me and knowing that if he did that, then He will give me what I need for today. It is knowing that Jesus will always be enough - in moments when I'm flat on my back because I'm clumsy, in hard conversations, in heavy times; in all times.