Max is going through a spiritual growth spurt. This is totally new to me. Up until this point my kids have been young enough that everything they got from church or me or Saturday morning cartoons was assimilated in the way of a child. They try to remember the stories or the songs and they argue back and forth over who was responsible for the rain (because they both prayed for rain and they're both sure that God made it rain because THEY asked for it), but they're young.
What Max is saying and doing--it's not like that. His own Faith, germinating all this time, has sprouted. It is young, it is tender, it is humbling. I hesitate to write much further about this because it feels like . . . it belongs to him. Where every aspect of Ben and Milo's life is still mine as well--and therefore fodder for the blog, my not-so-little preteen has things he thinks and feels and does that seem to belong entirely to him and are therefore not blog fodder.
But I can blog my reaction. I can say that seeing his Faith sprout lends new energy to mine. And I feel responsible for providing his Faith the best possible soil in which to grow. I feel it's even more important to model what I would hope for him--prayer, scripture study, and that level of entanglement with the activities of the church that is both a burden and a gift.
I think the emotions in parenting are somewhat similar to the emotions in a marriage. You go through periods when it's very difficult and you persevere out of a blind stubbornness or gritty determination and then there are periods where things are calm and you get into a sweet, contented rut, and then there are periods where you are falling in love all over again. You miss them when they're gone from the house on a Tuesday afternoon. You think everything they say is clever and funny. You feel slightly sorry for the other wives and moms who don't have your husband/child. When you're married with three kids, you can feel all of these feelings at once depending on which family member you're talking about. Right now I'm pretty happy with the whole gang.