It’s been hard having a 13 year old these past few days. In the past, I’ve been able to avoid talking about national tragedies by avoiding turning on the television. I remember being so grateful that he was only 2 on 9/11 because I had no idea what I would have said to him.
Then, Friday happened and I had no idea what to say to him. But, I had to say something. I quickly realized that you don’t have to have an answer about “why?”, but the most important thing to do is listen and encourage them to talk about their feelings. And, as we talked, I found that my sweet son was being as comforting to me as I was trying to be to him.
I was trying to explain to him about how I react to things — I told him about a character in The Secret Life of Bees that I relate to. May Boatright is a complicated personality. Highly sensitive to the pain of others, she carries the weight of the world in her soul. She built a wailing wall in her backyard and goes there when she is upset. And then I told him that I often joke that I need a wailing wall of my own in the backyard.
He looked at me and said, “Mom, you don’t need to build a wailing wall. You have one right here”, and he patted his chest. “God knows what’s in your heart”.
Tears filled my eyes as I looked at this child, who has no idea how wise he is, even though sometimes he still puts his pants on backwards. I thanked him and told him that this was a conversation I will never forget.
I’ve said it before….I take no credit for how awesome he is. But, I do like to share the insights he has. Usually they are funny and light-hearted. Today, I hope his wise words can bring someone else comfort as well.
Feel free to use this post as your own wailing wall. My son and I would be privileged to join you in prayer for everyone affected by the Newtown shooting. And, that means everyone.
Driving in the car this weekend, we were listening to the local 24 hour Christmas station. “Blue Christmas” came on and my son asked us to turn the channel. Upon being questioned as to why in the world he didn’t like Elvis, he replied: “Because he sounds like a mixture of Paul McCartney and Scooby Doo”.
Maybe it was funnier in person, but that is Life According to Jake.
I had one of those days. You know the ones….when everything and everyone irritates you….for no reason at all. I woke up tired and cranky and from the moment I got out of bed, nothing seemed to go right. Things that I normally wouldn’t get worked up about — well, let’s just say I made mountains out of mole hills all day. I can point to several reasons why the day went like it did. Lloyd’s out of town and I don’t sleep well when he’s gone. Tomorrow is Jake’s last day of elementary school, which is pretty emotional for all of us. I managed to unintentionally make somebody angry the other day and even though I have apologized (twice), I think they are still mad and it’s still weighing on me. I just feel a little defeated by life today. All day, I kept thinking of things I would blog about — and they mostly centered around how irritating and stupid I think people can be. Lloyd and I have a saying, “Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you”. Today, I got eaten by the bear.
And, then I was going through Jake’s backpack, full of all of the items from his desk at school. I came across a composition notebook that had “warm up journal” written on the front. His teacher would ask a question and they would have to answer it as a writing exercise. There were questions like “What was the coolest thing you did this summer?” and “What was your favorite part of the weekend?”. Reading them brought back memories of our trip across country last summer and going to see various museums on the weekends when we first moved here (and had fewer commitments than we do now!). But, then there were things I learned about him from questions like “If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?”. Jake answered: “I only wish I had one more year to see my family and friends” (back in Washington State). I learned that if he had one superpower, it would be to be invisible so that he could sneak out of the house. I learned that he would like to invent a dog trampoline and he’d like to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by producing the longest running cartoon ever. I discovered that his favorite thing to do in the snow is stay inside because his ears freeze too quickly and he’s worried about Diptheria. Whatever that means. I learned that he thinks he’s apathetic about soccer. If he had one billion dollars he would save his money and get a job. If he could have any job, it would be a classical composer. If he was to go to a deserted island, he would bring a box of candy, a bottle of sprite an Xbox 360 with a game and controller, his best friend Cameron, his 2nd grade picture and Lola (our dog). I learned that his favorite thing about spring is Easter because we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I learned that he thinks that Jayson Werth needs to learn to catch a ball. And, then there was this:
Describe your dream house.
His response was “Really, I don’t have a dream house. I like where I live”.
And all of a sudden, all of the things I have been irritated about all day just seemed so silly. Instead of complaining about all of those things, I needed to stop and count my blessings. My life is full of them. But, the biggest one of all is my sweet, smart, handsome, witty, insightful son who teaches me something every day.