The Day I Realized My ‘Ideal Child’ Wasn’t Real


I thought the world would come to a standstill the day I discovered my ideal wasn’t real.

It was a Sunday afternoon after church, December 2004, when my oldest son, a freshman in college at the time, walked in the front door, through the kitchen, into the family room and emptied his pockets of his most prized possessions, laying them gently on his daddy’s chest.

The weight of my son’s wallet, checkbook and car keys woke my napping husband. As if innately ready for turbulent air, he pulled his “dad” recliner to its upright position.

“What’s this?” he inquired, looking at the bundle of goodies on his chest.

My husband who we refer to as Big David when lil David is around (I told him having the same name would be confusing one day), always told the boys if they blew it, (meaning if they weren’t responsible with what had been given them) their car, and their money would go back to the original owner. Him.

With a sheepish chuckle lil David humbly mumbled, “I got my grades.”

I’m not sure what Big David was feeling, but for me, call me a pessimist, but I knew in the pit of stomach what was coming next was not good.

Lil David had just finished his first semester at Auburn University. I talked to him on a weekly basis and every time I asked him how it was going, he answered.

“Everything’s good mom.”

“You’re sure?” I’d say.

“Yes ma’am.” he’d answer.

And like a big dummy, I believed him. This day would prove to crush my naive reality.

His dad went on to ask him, “So what did you make son?“

With another uncomfortable chuckle Lil David snorted, “Uh, .5.”

His Dad responds, “You mean a 1.5?”

“No sir, you heard me right, a point five.”

I thought, Jesus was a commin’ any minute because this was surely the end of life as we knew it!
Everything was pretty much a blur after that. I was in full-on panic mode. Thoughts went racing through my mind.

Surely this cannot be happening.

This is not what I expected

This was not what I imagined.

This is not what I had planned.

What will he do?

What will we tell people?

What will they think?

This is not ideal.

This was not one bit of MY ideal.

And it wasn’t. I had made big plans as to how my son’s life would run or should run and this wasn’t it.
Nope, it was more like:

He would go to Auburn, get his degree and pilots license. Meet some nice Christian girl (who would just happen to adore me) with a degree and a good job. They would get married. He would secure a job with an airline and we would forever fly anywhere and everywhere for free. Package deal with a big whopping bow on top.

Yep, that about sums it up.

How often do our realities get crushed because we make plans without considering the plans God has for us and those closest to us?

We often have ideals that simply aren’t real.

And when we think this way we set ourselves up for disappointment with our kids, with our spouses, careers and life.

Sure it’s good to set goals—for ourselves that is. But making goals for our children or spouses sets us up and them for failure.

It’s okay to tell God our ideas and ideals as long as we finish with, Lord, but Your will and plans are perfect. May it be done as you think best.

And then stand back baby and watch Him work!

I finally did.

My son didn’t take what I thought should be the traditional path. He took a better path with a detour…or two in between. But those redirects took him exactly where God wanted him to be.

An Air Force career and two degrees later, he has his dream wife and a new dream job. And a whole bunch of learned wisdom he might have not garnered otherwise.
Which was probably God’s ideal for him. Much better than mine I might add.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

This article originally appeared at


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Christy Mobley
Christy is a girly girl who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub. She’s also a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God's presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can find Christy at Joying in the Journey, Twitter, and Facebook