Most moms can tell you everything you never wanted to know about their children. I’m like that. My kids are my favorite subject. I like to study them and figure out why they do things, and what motivates them. I’m not always good at keeping what I learn to myself. That’s why I forgive you if you take a pass on today’s post.
I’ve been thinking about Eddie lately: his life and how God prepared him for the challenges Eddie faces. It’s so interesting I just HAVE to point this out. If you don’t point these things out, you may be inclined to think life is just a big giant coincidence. Of course, you know I don’t think it is.
I had a memory the other day of a time when Eddie was little. When he was a preschooler he was preoccupied with playing at the park. That’s what he asked to do when he woke up; what he asked to do after his nap; what he asked to do before he went to bed. We played at the park A LOT.
One time I took him to a beautiful state park. He was so excited. We were the only ones there. After he had been climbing around for a short time we realized we had a problem. There were horse flies swarming the play structure. I remember Eddie started to complain as the horse flies landed on his face and in his hair. I was trying to figure out what to do when I saw a look pass across Eddie’s face. He said, “It’s okay. I’m going to play any way.” So he did. He went down the slide, climbed the stairs and played in the sand with horse flies landing in his ears, hair and biting him some times too. He had determined that if he wanted to play, he was going to have to learn to accept those flies. I remember thinking that may be unique, and little did I know, foretelling.
Eddie often gave me things to think about. In our new community, Eddie could walk to school where he attended second grade. One day after school I happened to walk by the window and I saw Eddie and his 4-year-old brother, Zeke, and the little neighbor boy walking down the street. They were carrying a shovel, a hoe and a bat. I jogged down to catch them and ask them what they were doing. Eddie said, “There are some teenagers that live in that house.” He pointed to a house down the road. “They say bad things and try to scare me when I walk by them on my way to school. We’re going to go make sure they stop doing that.” I’m really sorry to tell you that I put a stop to THAT brilliant plan. Although I’m sure it would have helped make a name for us in our new neighborhood.
I went a more crazy route, and approached the mom myself. I introduced her to Eddie and the boys and explained that we live just down the street and will be seeing a lot of each other. We thought it may be good to start off as friends.
Then, I told little second grade, Eddie, that sometimes you can let your parents help. Sometimes you can talk about things and make them better. Rarely do you need to beat your neighbors with bats, hoes and shovels.
There was a time Eddie decided to talk to his mom about a problem, of course, by the time he told me about it, it was too late. He was in 4th grade. He was still walking to school every day (when he wasn’t home sick, so, not a lot). We were driving somewhere and drove by a bigger, junior high boy. Eddie said, “Oh, that’s the boy that waved a knife at me on the way to school.” I may or may not have driven the car in the ditch. Can’t remember, it’s a blur.
I said, “WHAT???? Why didn’t you tell us this, Eddie?”
Eddie said, “Oh, it’s okay. Don’t worry, Mom. I took care of it, and he doesn’t bug me any more.”
I was afraid to ask, but I did anyway, “How?”
“The last time he waved the knife, I picked up a walnut from the ground and waved it around like he was waving the knife. Then I acted like I was going to throw it at him. He leaves me alone now.”
Yeah. The kid has instincts. If he would have told us about this problem, we would have told him his best defense was a walnut anyway, so it all worked out.
Another neighborhood scuffle I remember was when Eddie and Zeke and their friends were playing football in an open field. Some older, much bigger boys came by and asked Eddie’s little brother, Zeke, if he wanted some drugs. (I swear we live in a sweet little community.) As the story goes, Eddie told the bigger boys they’d better get out of there. The big boys laughed. They said, “What are YOU gonna do about it? Eddie is small. At this time in his life he was smaller than all the other boys his age.
With out warning, Eddie charged the boy and put him on his back. Eddie had the boy pinned to the ground, and, yes, I’m just going to tell you the truth. Eddie threw a few punches. The boy got scared. He and his friend ran away. That’s a story the neighbor boys like to retell.
So, I’ve been thinking about all these things and I’ve been thinking about how difficult Eddie’s life is some days. Did God put together this little hard-nosed guy with nerves of steel, knowing he’d need that courage to meet and conquer extraordinary obstacles? I think he did. I know those attributes sure don’t help him keep his room clean, or remember to throw on a clean sweatshirt.
I watched Eddie wrestle the other day, and I knew I was right about him. Eddie was having a sick day, a sick week, a sick month, a sick life. He was up against a fierce opponent. Eddie got sick on the mat. He got sick in the corner too. He kept wrestling. He did NOT stop fighting even when he realized a win was unlikely. Maximum effort until the final whistle. His opponent had no mercy. Eddie didn’t expect any. Eddie didn’t want any. I heard from more than one person that there were parents (oh, those precious parents) from other schools exclaiming their disgust. “Gross! Why doesn’t he wait until he gets to the garbage to be sick?” He tries. Sometimes he can’t.
Eddie didn’t hear them. If he did hear them, it wouldn’t make a difference. He loves to wrestle. He knows he was meant to wrestle. And, he believes that if there is something stopping you from doing what you want, and if you can’t get rid of it, you have to accept it and keep doing what you want to do. And that’s why, even though moms aren’t supposed to like fighting, I am glad Eddie was born to fight.
At home meets the wrestlers get to choose their own song that they want to be played when their name is announced and they run out on the mat to meet their opponent. It’s fun to hear what all they boys choose. Here’s the song Eddie chose this year: