Monday, June 02, 2008

Mother's Day

I suspect my youngest child will one day be referred to as a man of few words.
Perhaps it comes from being the youngest of four siblings who happen to have no trouble sharing their thoughts with anyone listening. Maybe it’s the apple falling far from the tree of his parents who have conquered the mastery of the word beyond that which may be healthy. Then again, it might just be the combination of the two and the simple fact that he has to work too hard to get a word in edgewise.
Regardless of the considerable conversational characteristics of the rest of us, I think it all boils down to the mere fact that my youngest happens to be a genius at getting his point across in other ways, when he sees the need, completely on his own terms.
I have seen this for his entire eleven years. Even as a toddler, he wasn't likely to give a hug when it was requested of him; but completely out of the blue, when the mood struck him, and only when the mood struck him, he would bestow upon me the most wonderful embrace that was all the sweeter due to its rarity.
When he began to talk, the gushing words may not have spouted forth frequently, but like the rationed hugs, loving words would eventually be delivered in beautiful packages, and savored for their preciousness.
So it is, on days like Sunday, I can appreciate the big picture of my child even more.
It began on Saturday when my little guy had just returned from going out with his dad to get me a Mother’s Day present. He hung around where I was working on my computer, leaning closer and closer to me. Soon, he was practically knocking me off my desk chair as he nudged as close to me as humanly possible without crawling into my skin. Knowing better than to ask what was on his mind, I just waited until he was ready.
Soon he was.
With no deliberate drama whatsoever, he simply began to tell me about a new friend of his who had lost her mother to cancer a little over a year ago. He twisted his body around enough so that he was looking into my eyes as he all but sat on my lap. And then the boy who sometimes only seems to care about sports and other things eleven year old boys care about, the boy who doesn’t say too much, astutely observed, “I’ll bet tomorrow is going to be really hard for her.”
Allowing himself one minute of sentiment, he put his head on my shoulder just long enough for me to try to think of something… anything… to say to a child about another child losing a parent.
And before I could swallow what felt to be my heart in my throat, that moment was over.
But then the next day came.
I was treated to my annual breakfast from my kids and then came the “giving of the presents” portion of the morning. Upon thanking them all for my gifts, I went to give them each a kiss and a hug. That’s when my youngest grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go. At first his brother and sisters thought he was just hogging the hugs; but I soon realized there was more to it than that. The prolonged hug was simply him remembering his little friend who was without her mom on Mother’s day and every day after that. It was, indeed, my youngest child’s way of proclaiming, “Mom, I’m so glad you’re here.”
As tears filled my eyes, I held tightly to my little man of few words.
Somehow I could hear, loud and clear, exactly what he was saying.

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