Photo: Ursa Major gets off the bus every day and immediately goes to check on the garden. What’s sprouting? What’s taller? How are the strawberries? Well, the strawberries seem to be doing alright. And so are my kids. The kids are alright.
“So, I have to tell you something,” I said from the front seat of the car yesterday.
“What?” asked Minor.
“The big boy is coming over today. He wants to say he is sorry to you. He wants to give you a gift to help say he’s sorry.”
“Is it a race car? I’d like a new race car,” the child said without skipping a beat.
I knew it wasn’t a race car. “I don’t know what it is. It’s something that he has chosen to help him say that he’s sorry.”
There was a quiet that settled into the car. The wipers swished back and forth across the windshield, filling the space with rhythmic mechanical moans. When he didn’t respond for a mile or so, I had to ask: “How do you feel about that?”
“I’m ok,” he answered.
“Is it ok if he comes over?”
“Yes, I think so,” he answered.
“You don’t have to accept his apology. You don’t have to forgive him. You don’t have to–”
“But I do forgive him,” Minor interrupted. “I just want to ask him why he pushed me.”
“Well, you can do that when you see him.”
Presented with two hand-colored cards and a little yellow t-shirt, Ursa Minor was gracious and kind. The 10-year-old looked me in the eye when he came to the door and apologized in the most sincere way a 10-year-old could. He did the same with Minor. It takes a lot of courage to do that and I appreciate it. We two moms exchanged stories and hugs. It took a lot for all of us to stand in my living room and say the words that needed to be said. It was intense, but it was worth it. The social healing must also happen, and it will also take time and care.
After they’d left, Minor sighed and looked over the cards, then picked up the little t-shirt and frowned. “That was ok, I guess. I wish this was a race car. Can I have a race car?”
I smiled. This kid is going to be alright.
It’s been a week, Dear Reader. This week humbled me. But not because of the craziness with Minor’s wrist. It was humbling because so many good milestones came as well, and so many revelations of the nature of my two boys. And that’s where my Quiet Thoughts are this rainy evening. This week confirmed for me that my boys are doing alright: they are kind, they are gracious, they are sweet, they are quick learners… they are everything I expect and hope for. Major has stepped up to being a compassionate, helpful big brother this week, helping Minor with everything from hand-washing to putting on shoes. He has been gentle, he has been protective, and he has been a big help to me, too. I feel bad a little bit, because Minor’s wrist has overshadowed Major’s week, even though Major had so much to offer.
Major is enjoying the anticipation that comes with having a first loose tooth. It’s really loose, too! Could come out any day! We sat as a family for dinner on Wednesday and discussed the logistics of the tooth exchange with the tooth fairy.
The Husband: “How much do you think the tooth fairy is going to give you for your first tooth?”
Major: “I hope she gives me $15!”
We adults near about died. Coughing, choking! 15 whole American dollars? No way!
“I’m going to put it in my piggy bank,” he insisted. “I really want to buy a new race car set!”
“Has anyone in your class gotten $15 for the tooth fairy, sir?” I had to ask.
“No. [Classmate] got a dollar. I think [Ridiculous Classmate] got three dollars.”
“Ain’t no way she got no three dollars,” I mumbled into my wine. The children of MetroWest are spoiled beyond belief!
We are doing our best to manage his expectations. Yet, there is a lot of joy in the conversation. When did that child get old enough to start losing teeth? Matter of fact, when did that child become old enough to be a rising 1st grader? We’re impressed, charmed and bewildered by the boy. And that’s not the only news from Mr. Ursa Major: he’s reading.
Ursa Major read his library book to me on Wednesday night. A Piggy and Elephant book: Waiting is Not Easy. I don’t know how this managed to sneak up on me, but I’ve got a reader in my house now. Words suddenly have meaning and the days of books being a Mommy & Me activity are now numbered.
Not to be outdone, Minor is right on his heels. Both boys were reading through that Piggy & Elephant book yesterday and today. Minor stole Major’s thunder a little bit, which is frustrating for him. He never let it show, though. Matter of fact, Major was encouraging his brother and pointing out words as they went.
In both of these things, I feel no motherhood heartache. Major is doing exactly what he was born to do. I’m reminded that motherhood will eventually end. Weeks like this will be a distant memory, shared with great embellishment and blurry details over wine with friends sometime in the future. We live through these weeks so that we can indeed laugh and dance on the other side, enjoying the wisdom earned, relishing the new skills acquired. We survive these weeks so that we can give thanks for the blessings, and I truly do. I recognize that there were many, many blessings this week. More blessings than challenges.
My kids are alright. They are well cared for, they are healing, they are exploring and expressing themselves in powerful ways. They are challenged, yet they show resilience. Best of all, I was able to see the sincere love and friendship that those two brothers have, and it was everything I needed to get through the week. For all the fighting and whining and wrestling and squabbles, when it all came to a head this week, those two were the best friends they needed to be. I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m grateful to those two more than I can ever say.
It’s a rainy, cold Friday night in Massachusetts. It’s been this way for days and I’m perfectly fine with it. Water is life, cool days mean no need for the air conditioner. Deep, mature green has settled in and the garden now fully planted and totally robust. A week of life has come and gone. I hope you have a lot to show for it, Dear Reader.
For this long weekend, I have a few wishes for you. I wish you sleep. Good, deep sleep that lasts as long as you need it to. Sleep until you wake, then roll over and go right back. Dream little dreams of the things you want, the plans you have, the impossibly possible. I wish you time to do a little bit of nothing, with hours to languish, to be totally unhurried and unscheduled. Be bored for a moment, Dear Reader! It’s good for the brain! I wish you time to reflect before heading out to gatherings or on the sunny beach day: we Americans get this holiday weekend for a special reason that shouldn’t be forgotten. Despite everything going on in our politics and in our world and in our divided communities, remember one constant: we’re here because others made sacrifices to make it possible. Light a candle, give thanks and then live the free life they made possible for you. Do so with the spirit of service in your own heart, Dear Reader. Make a plan to give a bit of yourself to something this summer. Volunteer, mentor, serve in some capacity. Boldly choose to actively make this world a better, kinder, more inclusive place by reaching out your hand in welcome to others. What you do matters, Dear Reader. Don’t ever forget it. As ever, I’ll remind you that you are loved. You are infinitely beautiful. So be good to yourself this weekend.
I’m also taking Monday off, to be grateful and to spend time with my boys.
So, until Wednesday, play in the sun, dance, eat well, drink better, give thanks, reach out and take care.