God Sent Us a Son to Challenge and Teach Us

March 1, 2009 | By More

My oldest son Adrin, who would have been named ‘Sharayah’ if he had been a girl, will graduate from college this year. I know many of you are saying,” You would have named him what?” So I will stop here and address his ‘almost’ name.

Sharayah came from a song my husband and I heard while I was pregnant with Adrin. My entire family was praying I would have a boy – Sharayah was just too much for them. I found this very interesting since my parents had named my sister ‘Kurtiss’ and named me ‘Kechia.’ These are not run-of-the-mill names for girls, especially in the early 1960’s. I was followed six years later by a cousin named Cinnamon. Does this sound like a family afraid of unusual names? Somehow, Sharayah was over the line – go figure.

Now, I know Adrin is not a common name either. It is actually a southern pronunciation of Adrian – my family’s southern pronunciation. We were living on Long Island, N.Y., when Adrin was born and we had spelled his name Adrian. My experiences in the hospital the day he was born should have been enough to make me realize no native New Yorker was going to pronounce his name “Adrin” when it was spelled “Adrian”.

I must have corrected the doctor and nurses a gazillion times. They would just look at me as if I was the one who didn’t know how to pronounce my child’s name. By the time Adrin was 11 months old we had given up the fight and decided that if his name was going to be Adrin and not Adrian we would have to do something. We found out you could change the spelling of a child’s name on their birth certificate for small fee – I think it was $50 – as long as you did it before their first birthday.

We quickly moved to fill out all the forms and find a notary. Standing at a pharmacy counter in Sayville, N.Y., Adrian became Adrin. No, I didn’t need drugs to recuperate from the 11 months of constantly trying to explain my child’s name – the pharmacist was a notary.

The funny thing about all I just told you is that it has nothing to do with my original story. Wait, wait, now that I think about it for a minute maybe it does. I mean obviously it proves that the child comes from a bizarre family and you know the saying, “the apple does not fall far from the tree.” Well, Adrin inherited the bizarre in spades. My husband and I would often look at each other and wonder how he could possibly be ours.

I don’t share this to diminish Adrin in anyway. I am sharing it to show how God used Adrin to challenge us, humble us and make us better people. The only people who were looking at the world in the wrong way were his father and I.

Let’s start with clothes. Somewhere along the way Adrin decided he hated any shirt with buttons. I mean he hated them so much that we would threaten to make him wear a button shirt as punishment.

He also decided he hated jeans. He said they were too rough on his skin. So this was a boy who would wear only sweatpants and t-shirts unless forced into some other type clothing. Did this bother him at all? Not one bit. Did it bother his mother? You bet, but for all the wrong reasons.

It was my pride that it bothered the most. I wanted my child to look good and wear nice clothes. I was worried what others would think. Not just what other adults would think, but what other kids would think. Most of us, if we are honest, want our kids to be accepted.

When Adrin was in sixth and seventh grade, he would still only wear sweatpants and t-shirts. The world can be a cruel place during this phase of a child’s life. It is a time when everyone wants to fit in, and those who don’t often get rejected. Adrin would humble me time and time again when he would choose the same red sweatpants and purple t-shirt.

We had decided to let Adrin be Adrin and not try to force him to change just to fit in. It was not easy. I would lovingly but honestly tell him, “Now you know, if you wear that to school kids will make fun of you?” He would respond, “I know. I don’t care. I like it.” This was a kid who was much braver than I had ever been. I never wanted to be singled out as weird. I would do just about anything to make sure that never happened.

Yet, off to school he would go and sure enough he would get laughed at. Did he care? Not one bit. Did I care? Yes, terribly. But you see the problem was mine, not his. He was happy with whom he was and I needed to learn to be ok with that.

It really hurt me when, even at church, Adrin would find himself on the outside. Now remember, it didn’t hurt Adrin. so please don’t feel sorry for him. He would often lecture his mother on the superficial nature of things.

We had a program at church when Adrin was in middle school that required the kids to wear button shirts and handkerchiefs around their neck. My child would have none of it.

Adrin had made the argument that he could learn God’s word without the uniform and he was right. In this program you learned verses and were given an award. The only problem was that to be given your award you had to be in uniform. Adrin was never in uniform.

Fortunately, God placed a very wise man as Adrin’s leader, his name was Jay Miller. (Jay recently passed away and is greatly missed.) Jay told Adrin he didn’t care about the uniform, all he cared about was seeing Adrin every Wednesday night. Jay took the time to come up with scripture assignments for Adrin and questions for him to answer.

Adrin went every Wednesday and did every assignment. Adrin never earned an official award. On Award Night, when the kids who had learned the most verses and completed the most books were up on stage receiving their awards, it was hard for me. My pride wanted my child to be up there too. I would often ask God, “Why can’t Adrin be just like everybody else?” I know the answer – because I had a lot to learn about what was really important and God was using my unique child to teach me.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of stories I could tell about how this child almost drove me crazy, but more importantly how he drove me to my knees so God could cut away a lot of junk.

As he graduates and moves on – I want him to know – I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I am so proud of him.

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Category: Every Day Life

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