Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dis an' dat

First of all, a couple people commented on my new blog header. Yea, glad you like it! I have to give credit where credit is due, so the truth is, I did the basic design and Jenny, who is a digiscrapping Internet rock star and just happens to ALSO be one of my very best friends, lucky me, spiffed it up for me. Thanks, Jenny!

Second, some bad news. I think Caroline's nap might be going to h-e-double-hockey-sticks in a handbasket. This week I think she napped two, maybe three days out of seven. The other days she was happy to stay in my room quietly for an hour or two (something her older sibs never grokked at that age). Would you like to know what I found upon opening the door? Would it be a peacefully drowsing toddler, opening her eyes to grin fondly at me? It would not. It would be the strong odor of nail polish, found (AND PUT AWAY!) on a high shelf in the bathroom, and applied fastidiously to the "fingers" and "toes" of the Waldorf-style doll my mom made for Eliza (sorry, Mom!). Or another day, all my shoes, and the shoe rack, removed from my closet and reorganized in front of the bed. A busy beaver, that one. Oh, and today it was waterproof mascara all over the eyebrows, making her look like a younger version of Martin Scorsese.

Next topic: angels. The kids have taken an interest in angels lately, since I informed them one day that according to Hebrews 13:2, there's always a possibility that in giving hospitality, we may unwittingly entertain angels. So, this week I had a visit from my very own angel. No, no, don't worry, this isn't going to develop into a screenplay for Touched by an Angel or something. I'm referring to a real live human, probably flawed in some way I haven't ascertained, but she sure could have been an angel to me.

Background: At our Friday Co-op, I lead a board games class. Yup, real strenuous, just as it sounds. It's actually tons of fun, except for one minor detail: one of the class members is my son. Have I mentioned before that he loathes losing any game, or even a part of a game? Even the PROSPECT of not being the NUMBER ONE WINNER? Yes, I do believe he'd be the one ripping off the silver medal and storming off the Olympic stand. So as I emerged from the classroom, shoulders slumped, mind whirling with my latest failure to deal gracefully with a very public emotional maelstrom, who should greet me but Mary, who taught Ian's Insects class last semester and now assists in his Story of the World class. She beamed at me and eagerly filled me in on how much she enjoyed having him in the SOTW class, how lively and perceptive his mind was, how brilliant his memory, etc. etc. etc.

I think my lip must have been quivering because she kindly took the next ten minutes out in the hallway to tell me how much Ian reminded her of her own son at that age, and how mightily she struggled with the behaviors that made him challenging to her and difficult to others. She was able to pull back at one moment, though, and realize that she had inadvertently headed down a more negative path than her conscience allowed. She made a turn, believing by faith that when her son seemed most unlovable, that was when he needed the most love and connection. She wouldn't allow unkind behavior, but she'd hug him or keep her hand on his shoulder to help him tone down. She invested the time, often when she least felt like it. Now he's a peaceful high school senior who writes sophisticated, focused essays and tells his mom he loves her, right in front of his friends. He takes care of his younger sister. It is as if, she told me, everyone has a chaotic time in his life, and her son got his out of the way earlier, while her "model" other children had their storms later.

Just to have someone see the best in my son, especially someone who's trod the often-lonely path before, shepherded my soul and reminded me what we're capable of and called to as human mothers. Later, at home, as I puttered about putting away the folded clothes, I marveled at the experience and prayed that I could be That Mom to someone one day.


Julie said...

Thank you for posting this experience! It is so wonderful that that women could find such a loving way to calm her son and be so insightful...I will hold onto this story for troubled moments in years to come...Thank you again!

kicking bull said...

That's so great that this woman was so considerate of her own sons needs and was able to draw from that to appreciate Ian's virtues. I can only imagine how much you appreciate her perspective and attitude.

Amy Tague said...

Once again, your blog left me with tears in my eyes. I've been having one of "those" weeks with my oldest and this blog was sooo encouraging. I read that once years ago-- that when our kids "deserve" our love the least is when they need it the most. This entry was a wonderful reminder. :) Thanks Hannah!