It’s Friday night and I’m eating purple donuts with my kindergartener while his sister’s in her Irish dance class. Before I realize his hands are still filthy with school grime, he’s two bites in. (Note the outside of his right palm in the photo.) But, I accepted my imperfections as a mother some time ago.
Having gotten the shot I wanted, I interrupt his eating to try to clean his hands with napkins, and carefully avoid the scraped elbow from the playground fall three days ago while I ask about his day.
“So, how did you get that green smiley-face sticker?” I ask, meaning the tiny one on his t-shirt, which he got to wear today because it was an ‘out-of-uniform’ day at school. Talk about an exciting Friday!
“In music class!” he tells me brightly. “I was actually singing really loud! Do you know how many Christmas songs we have to learn?”
He holds up seven fingers.
I make big eyes at him, and am actually moderately surprised, having forgotten how many songs the other two kids learned at this age.
“We will learn a new song each time at music! It’ll be easy!”
“What song did you learn today?”
Without a trace of irony, he says,
And chomps again into his purple donut.
I sit there and appreciate how he gradually acquires a sticky violet beard across his unblemished face while savoring the confection. He licks his fingers, sips his strawberry milk, and tells me about his new friends, laughing in a somewhat nonsensical way and slapping his legs while sharing his stories. He looks to make sure I’m listening and understanding that he’s making connections with people. I nod and smile, even though his ‘inside’ kindergarten jokes are not funny to me in quite the same way.
Life with a 5-year old is priceless.
I had ended this post there last night but didn’t push ‘Publish,’ thinking it needed an ending. The ending came this morning. Perhaps.
At 8:30 my sidekick and I were at the soccer field for his game. Only a few minutes in, he was bumped by a teammate and went down hard on that aforementioned scraped elbow. (Sigh)
The tears came. His coach said all the right things. My son still came off the field.
And even though the wound had only slightly re-opened, and yes – abrasions DO sting, this tumble had become a mental hurdle he just couldn’t overcome. The elbow hurt, and he was afraid he’d fall on it again. Suggestions that he give the game another go, calls from his teammates to come back in, my reminders that soccer “is all about your feet!” as well as tougher love – “Your team needs you and you love this game. Now get out there and do this!”…Nothing could help the 5-year old crush the molehill in his mind.
So – life with a child this age is still priceless, but today I would add that it is also…. rollercoaster-ish. And isn’t that the way it is with ALL kids.
And all adults.
Yes, they are cliches. We all live priceless, rollercoaster lives. But looking back over the last 24 hours, other things occurred to me too.
My little boy was learning a song and promptly forgot it. He reopened a wound, just a little, and his fears held him back from doing something he loves. We have all learned things that we should remember and have quickly forgotten them. Sometimes with devastating consequences. We have all suffered the reopening of an old wound and allowed it to interfere with the present.
What we need, is a parent who watches over us tenderly, without admonishing us for our failures. One who can sympathize with our hurts and can bind up our wounds, and who always sees a way forward for us, while giving us the right kind of encouragement to get back into life.
Thank goodness we have one. He is the One and only, Lord God Almighty.
I lift my eyes up to the hills-
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
– Psalm 121:1-2