Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Several months ago, I wrote a post just about Sam. A friend of mine suggested I write one for each child. I thought that was a good idea. I decided to go in order, starting with my oldest child, Will. (Maybe I'll have Anna's written in ten years!!)

At the heart of every parent-child relationship, there will certainly be struggles that have to be dealt with. Sometimes we can get so focused on the struggles, we don't see the gift in that child. That's why it's good to write down all the things you love about a particular child. Even if you don't keep a blog, I suggest you do it on paper, or even mentally.

We named our oldest son Will, the fifth in a long line of William Travis Smithdeals. And his name, "Will," says so much about who Will is: determined, faithful, persistent, loyal, stubborn, strong....Once you are Will's friend, he doesn't let you go. He is a friend for life. And I love that about him. He cares deeply and loves long. If I need a hug, Will gives the best "squeeze-the stuffin'" hugs there are.

I told Will he should have been named "Thoreau," because he is in his element when out of doors. For years when he was home schooled, I fretted over the hours and hours he spent down at the river. He said the other day, "I'm starting to realize that most people aren't as bothered to not be outside when it's nice out." I don't know about that, but I do know that he is happiest out of doors. And somehow between fiddling down at the river and designing inventions, which he was always doing, he taught himself how to repair cars, lawn mowers, lamps, whatever it is broken, he can fix it. I like that about him.

I like that Will wants to used the taped up lampshade in his room because he doesn't think I need to spend money on a new one. I like that he said we should both take a personality test on line so that we can see how similar we are. I like that he buys flowers for Samantha and wants to have her spend time with our family. He is happiest just being around those he loves- eating, playing, watching a movie together; he is pleased by the simple pleasures of life- like banana peppers on sandwiches and burgers on the grill.

I like the way Will's hair curls up on the ends, and I laughed when he was using a straightener to get out the kinks. He is proud of his bird imitations, which are startlingly real. He leaves me notes that say I'm "the best," and he always thanks me for the food I prepare. He never goes even to bed without a kiss and a hug goodnight, and if he forgets, he'll laugh and say, "Oh, I forgot. Good night," and he'll come over and give me a hug.

Will is a dreamer and an artist, that's for sure. He plays guitar, draws, and builds things. He built the first bridge (in his engineering class) that could support the weight of a real tractor. I liked that he told me this and even mentioned that when they were done, they had a bonfire with the wood and roasted hot dogs. Details matter to him, and I'm so happy he wants to share them with me.

I like that Will got his sister a puppy, and when I protested, he said "she should have one for Christmas." He said goodbye to me the other day, and as I was walking out the door said, "Oh. Mom, I can tell you're exercising're looking good!" Does he know how happy that made me?

I walk into the house at night, and I look up to see Will sitting at his desk in the window. Much of the time he is looking out the window, which is always open with the first hint of Spring. It's hard for me to believe that he will be eighteen in just a few months.

Maybe it's just being a parent, especially of the oldest child, but I have worried and prayed so hard for this boy. It's not that he has given us so much trouble; it's just that I don't want to do anything to mess up his life. I want to get it right. Lord knows we have made mistakes along the way, but thank God for His mercy and filling in the gaps when the intentions of the heart are sincere. I know none of my children will ever be perfect, but I want to strive everyday to focus on the gift, the blessing of that child- not the void.