Monday, January 18, 2010

A Dry-Erase Message and an Unhappy Boy

If you have been reading along, maybe you saw my post last week about the small things we can do with and for our families that make a big difference. (If you missed it, check the past post log on the right and look for the one about Passive Programming.) And you also know that I have messages to my family written on several mirrors and dry erase boards around our home. I love knowing that they are getting little reminders from me about how loved, how beautiful, how smart they are.

Tonight, Benjamin was feeling out of sorts. At some point in the afternoon, he had reached a point where he was just unhappy. We talked to him, gave him space, offered more yes than no responses and still he was not himself. He reluctantly went to basketball practice and came home nearly in tears. I sat down with him, one one one, and he told me that at practice he "sucked" and "couldn't play at all" and he sat a few minutes and cried.

I tried to make it right but the truth is I just can't. I cannot make him happy and that may not be my job. My job is to sit with him and love on him and listen to him and in the end pray like crazy that some of that makes a difference.

It was time for his shower and he asked if he could use the shower in the bathroom in Mark and my room. I said yes and went in with him to check and be sure he had a towel to use. As I was leaving to give him time to himself, he looked at the mirror and cocked his head.

"You're going to miss this..." he said aloud, reading the message I left Mark and myself. "What mom? What will you miss? What does this mean?"

I smiled at him then... gazing at that face I know and love so well. I reached out and touched his sweaty, curly hair... the only one of my kids who inherited my unruly locks. Leaning in, I kissed his forehead and smiled again.

"You, bud. We will miss you. When you are grown, we will miss you so much. Sometimes it helps to have a reminder now to pay attention because we just love you and the days go awful fast."

He looked at me then with a funny look on his face, like he was trying to understand. He looked me square in the eyes and stepped in close. He wrapped his arms around my waist and rested his head on my chest. He hugged me tightly and then looked up at me again and he smiled. Arms still surrounding me, he looked down and we stood there like that for a minute or two... my 11 year old boy and I.

I leaned in then and whispered to him.

"Benjamin, this is my best thing today." And I kissed the top of his head.

When he stepped away, there was a tear in his eye but on his face, a smile. A weight I could not identify had washed away and Benjamin was Benjamin again.

We never know, do we? What will help today? What can I say or do or refrain from doing that will connect to the heart of my child? It can be a shot in the dark... or sometimes just the truth.

The truth is this: I love my boy and standing still with his arms around my waist at the end of a long day is just what we needed most. Both of us. And the truth is that when it is all said and done and my sweet babies all grown and gone, I want memories like this to fill my heart. A simple exchange between momma and son that, for that one minute, made all the difference in the world.

Blessings on your day.


Anonymous said...

Nadia: I just wanted to thank you for so honestly sharing your world with us. As I read your blog tonight it brought a tear to my eye. I wasn't crying because I was happy or sad, but simply because your words and story were so beautiful and relayed in such a raw honest way that we don't always get to see in this world. Thank you.

Laurie said...

I second Robin's comment.