The youngest of my three boys is five years old. He wants to do everything his brothers do. He wants to have everything his brothers have but he is a few years too young and a few inches too short. I find myself saying “no” to him more than I remember saying to my first and second born combined.
Today, on our bike ride, we saw a tree whose blossoms fell on to the street in such a way that it painted the ground yellow. “Can we ride through that?” He asked as we passed it. My legs were tired, it was starting to drizzle. We’re just a few minutes from home.
I looked back at the petal ladened street. I turned around.
“What are you doing?” Burian inquired.
“Going to bike through the petals.” I answered.
“Yaaay!” He cheered.
I realized that it’s okay for me to hold him close and innocent, it’s okay for me to say “no” to things that I don’t think he is ready for or healthy for him at this age. But I can say “yes” to the small stuff… probably the stuff that matters most.
Clayton scootered down the street of a friend’s house. The road was hilly, and as we soon discovered, it was also gravely. He fell, quite fantastically, and scrapped one knee, one elbow, one thigh, and the whole right side of his abdomin and chest. There are going to be some memorable souvenir scars from this one.
As I was cleaning him up in our friend’s house, I said, we’re not going to be going anywhere for a while.
In between tears, sobs and “I’m dying”, he said he wouldn’t be able to help around the house for a few days either. (heart melt moment #1)
Clayton received two chocolates from our friend before we left their house. He didn’t want to eat them right away. When he finally wanted to eat them after I cleaned his wounds, he asked me if he could share them with his brothers. (heart melt moment #2)
Just last month, for Clayton’s birthday, we went around a circle and shared with the birthday boy what attributes we saw in him and were grateful for. Jing Wen, his older brother, said that Clayton was generous and fun to be with. How right on was he.
Thanks to Clayton, quite a few kids learned today not to scooter down that hill. What I am even more grateful for is the reminder of what a kind, loving and adventurous person I have in my life. Thank you dear Clayton.
PS: He is healing nicely, well bandaged and sleeping soundly.
Our friends were kind enough to lend us a rain stick for my play last month. A young student had made it for her teacher, our friend.
His wife was delivering it to me at school when her children and a friend accidentally broke it in two. She suggested that we could tape up on side and use the larger half of the rain stick, accepting gracefully that things happen, it’s part of life.
When I told cameron the story, he was very upset. He wanted to fix it so it is as close to the original as possible.
With all the work inside and outside of the house, I said, it probably wasn’t necessary. But he insisted. He remembers one too many times in his life, precious things were borrowed and returned damaged or forgotten all together. He had enough of those stories and he wasn’t to create another one for someone else. So he spent many hours splinting the rainstick and putting it back together, stronger than it had been.
When it was dry, I put it in my car to bring to the play. By then, they had already found another rainstick and didn’t need it anymore. I left it in the car so as to remember to return it as soon as possible.
The next morning, getting the kids in the car, I noticed the rain stick was no longer in the car where I had left it. The front passenger seat was pushed completely back and reclined and everything was pulled out of the consoles. It looked like someone might have spent the night in our car and rummaged through it. But where was the rain stick that cameron so carefully repaired?
50 feet away, under a tree by the road. The dew and morning rain had gotten to it. We brought it inside.
When we returned home from school, we had more time to look at it and see what we could do. The tube was damp and soft. We emptied the insides and set the blow drier to it. Even when it was dried it was still soft and peeling in many places.
Judging from the enthusiasm cameron took to caring for it and mending it, I knew this was no longer about the rain stick, it was about something much bigger, bigger than cameron and our family. It was about healing the wounds of childhood. As I watched him stay up mending the rainstick, I remember all the stories he had told me of his childhood, siblings and friends who borrow his things and return them broken or never to be seen again. Each stroke of his brush on the paper I saw as another application of arnica for the heart of his childhood self, enough to even rub off on me. Perhaps now, we may all be one step closer to letting go of the haunts of our pass. Recognizing that we do have a hand in shaping the our experience of the present and the future. As my children watched and helped. I knew something very important was happening for everyone.