Shop the fall collection ➔

He’s the kid who never listens the first time.

Or the second.

Or even the tenth.

You can pick him up out of the line up in the school hallways.

He’s the one who doesn’t walk in an orderly fashion. He runs or spins or stops in his tracks if something catches his eye.

He has a hard time keeping his hands to himself.

His handwriting and spelling don’t betray his intelligence . . . you might be fooled into thinking it’s all a struggle if you’re not paying attention.

He’s the one making all the noises with his mouth, only stopping when his siblings finally yell at him.

His heart sometimes breaks a little because he’s not always sure why what he’s doing is so wrong.

His ideas come out in a jumble and you have to slow way down and look in his eyes to listen.

His ideas are just too big and too fast for his head it seems and so they come out in any old order.

But he needs you to hear him.

His energy cannot be contained by walls and he seems to take up so much more space than his size.

He tries every ounce of your patience if you’re trying to get somewhere.

You might send him to put on his boots and he’ll come back with a new LEGO creation.

Time has no meaning when a new plan strikes.

He can understand stories on a level well beyond his years and will floor you with his insights.

He is smart as a whip yet school isn’t always his jam. He’d rather talk about why Sally is giving away 24 of her apples instead of solving the story problems in math.

He loves fiercely and deeply and without reservation.

He will tuck a blanket around you if you look cold and will always share a bite of his cookie.

He can read your emotions on your face and will always know who is lonely on the playground.

He runs to open your car door and will insist on carrying your bag in the house for you.

He loves to climb into your lap and wants to hold your hand as he falls asleep.

His greatest joy is making you laugh from deep in your belly.

His body is eight but his soul is much older.

He is so many things . . . sometimes the world wants to label him with letters and words and numbers . . . and sometimes these help us understand him better.

But the letters and words and scores are not what he is. They cannot capture his essence.

There is no data taken anywhere on big hearts, but if there were this kid would be the shining star.

Like all our kids, he is just himself. The sum of gifts and struggles all bound together with love.

And my hope for him, and all kids really, is that we can see these clearly. We can look beyond the definitions and categories to what’s shining in their eyes and hiding behind their smiles.

And we can love them just the way they are.

This article originally appeared on Hiding in the Closet with Coffee by Amy Betters-Midtvedt

 

You may also like: 

In Defense of the Wild Child

Dear Strong Willed Child, You’re Worth It

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

Amy Betters-Midtvedt

Amy Betters-Midtvedt is a writer, educator, mom of 5 crazy kids, wife to a patient husband, and lover of Jesus. She writes along with her friend and former teaching partner Erin over at Hiding in the Closet With Coffee. Our mission is to help parents find sanity and joy, and we know sometimes joy is found hiding out in the closet with coffee, or hiding out on Facebook — come and join us both! You can read more about us here. You can also find us hiding out over at InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

I Know What It’s Like To Have a Difficult Child

In: Child, Motherhood
Little girl kneeling on deck, color photo

One Sunday morning during church, I was standing around bouncing my fussy premature baby around the cry room. This room is special—a place for nursing moms and moms with young kids to watch the live sermon on a monitor. I wasn’t alone, two other moms sat on the couches, and we were all chatting. A beautiful but tired mom sat with her little girl snuggled in her arms, gazing at the lights.  “She’s so chill. She’s like this all the time, much easier than my other son.”  I looked over at her with big eyes and a laugh, “I’m jealous!...

Keep Reading

His First Haircut Was the Start of Letting Go

In: Child, Motherhood, Tween
Toddler smiling and holding popsicle, color photo

My son has the most beautiful curls. I remember when his hair started growing as a baby and a little ringlet appeared. My momma heart was bursting with excitement. Yes, I will admit something as superficial as a curl made me squeal.  The kid just has adorable hair—and where does this wondrous flow come from? He didn’t inherit it from me, and his dad doesn’t have a curl to boot either. In a way, it’s become my youngest’s trademark.  The day came for his first haircut, and then his second one. I remember watching his curls fall to the ground...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Your Joy Is Contagious

In: Child, Motherhood
Baby smiling

Dear daughter, Thank you for teaching me what joy is. Thank you for waking up laughing and babbling, no matter how dark the night was. Thank you for that sweet smile you give me when you see me, half-awake and lying in bed in the morning. Thank you for the grin that lights up the room when your dad comes home from work. RELATED: My Beautiful Baby, You Revealed in My Heart a Love I Never Knew Possible Some days are rough. When you’re crying and I don’t know what you want, or when my arms are sore from holding...

Keep Reading

Dear Son, My Heart Wasn’t Ready for You To Grow So Fast

In: Child, Motherhood
Little boy running in the surf

Dear son, I wasn’t ready for this. But you were. I had it all planned out. I would enjoy the last few months of your toddlerhood—that beautiful and wild in-between age between the baby and little boy phase.  When I get hundreds of cuddles a day. When you cover me with kisses randomly. When you hold my thumb while watching a show together.  I knew the toddler phase was coming to a close, and I was doing all the things getting you ready for this next season.  Your clothes were getting smaller, dinosaurs and cars were your main passion, and...

Keep Reading

Why Does It All Go So Fast?

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl running down sunlit path

I remember the day you were born so vividly. It’s etched into my brain as one of the best moments of my life. As if I could ever forget. I remember the way I felt when I saw you for the very first time. That first snuggle. That feeling of I did it, you’re finally here and thank goodness it’s over. I remember the first time I tucked my finger into your delicate little hand. When I looked down at you and you looked up at me. That was when my entire world stopped. I realized at that moment my...

Keep Reading

To the Daycare Teachers Watching My Babies Grow with Me

In: Child, Motherhood
Child smiling

I remember the knot in my stomach when my husband and I made the decision to put our kids in daycare. On a stormy afternoon, we toured the facility we had picked, 35 minutes from our house. After the tour I knew without a doubt if my kids had to go to daycare, this is where I wanted them to be.  The knot I had in my stomach, in the beginning, has since gone. My son started coming home every afternoon talking about how much he loved “school” and how much he loved his teachers, which helped ease my worries....

Keep Reading

What the Mama in the Meltdown Really Needs

In: Child, Motherhood, Toddler

I was so excited to enroll my 3-year-old daughter into gymnastics—she’s my always active, fearless, stubborn, and daring girl. The girl whose teachers had to ask me to remind her that swinging from arch to arch in the classroom was not OK, and who has nearly given me heart attacks flipping off the couch. The girl who has so much high energy, that I know getting it all out with sports would be so healthy for her. The girl who is fierce about doing everything “by herself . . . “ I just knew she would love gymnastics. And she...

Keep Reading

When Your Last Baby Goes to School

In: Child, Motherhood

In just a few short weeks, our daughter will start preschool.  On Monday and Wednesday mornings, she’ll sling her little backpack over her shoulders, pull on her tie-dye sneakers, and head out the door. If you ask her about it, she’ll get a big grin on her face and tell you how excited she is. But me? While I’m ready for her to go and fully confident she’ll thrive, my stomach has also been doing flip-flops at the thought. Because she’s our youngest. Our little. Our last. If you’ve been here before, you know: When your last baby goes to...

Keep Reading

New Mom, Don’t Be Afraid to Blink

In: Child
Newborn photo in white bedding, color photo

I can barely keep my eyes open and my entire body is shaking from the anesthesia. As they stitch me up from this unplanned C-section, someone brings him to me, wrapped tightly in a blanket with a small blue-and-pink striped hat covering his head. My baby, who I felt growing within me for the better part of this year. My son is here. Blink. He screams with excitement when he realizes he’s no longer holding onto anything. He’s actually doing it. His first independent steps. He can’t keep the huge grin off of his face as he toddles across the...

Keep Reading

Coming Home to Kindergarten

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little boy with green backpack holding man's hand

I’m standing outside a row of heavy, metal doors and tentatively press the bright red “call” button. “Good morning, can I help you?” a bright, cheerful woman’s voice asks. “Yes, I’m here for my registration appointment?” I ask in return, despite the fact that it’s a statement. I’ve chosen to speak it as a question as if I’m not quite sure. Is that indeed what I’m here for? Can that possibly be true? “Welcome! I’ll buzz you right in. You can meet me in the office.” I hear the buzzer sound, the clicks of the lock mechanism unwinding, and I...

Keep Reading