Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Boy


I’ve made a break-through.

It came in the most unexpected way.

But, then again, that’s usually how God works.

Joshua and I had been bickering (yes, my son bickers with me…yes, I should probably stop bickering back, but that’s another issue for another day), and it all came to a head.

“Mom? Can I help you cook that??”

“Tell you what, Josh, I’ll teach you how to cook when you are eight,” I replied. I congratulated myself on my quick thinking.

Josh was nonplussed.

“*SIGH* that’s in NINE MONTHS…”

What the…

Before I could amend my response to “I’ll teach you to cook when you are ten,” Joshua turned to me and said, “I already know how to cook.”
I snapped, my mounting anger finally exploding. You see, Joshua had been bragging to me all day about how much he knew, sort of lording it over me, and I’d had enough. No one can beat 7-year-old ego.

“Oh really?” I said, raising my eyebrows at my miniature man. “Okay, well, since you know everything, it’s time for you to go into the world. You may fill up your pillowcase with all your clothes, and I’ll open up the garage and you can head out.”

I waited expectantly for all the protests, and his “I’msorryI’msorryI’msorry!” but it didn’t come.
He looked up at me with icy blue eyes, back-lit with mingled excitement and doubt.

“I can head out?”

“Yes,” I replied, trying to be stony and nonchalant. “You can take all your stuff and go make your way in the world.”

“Can I bring my toys?”

“N--,” I started, then amended. “Yes, you can take your toys. And I’ll give you some bread to take with you, since you can’t stay for dinner.”

“What?” he said in amused disbelief. “How about I visit for dinner?”

“Nope,” I replied.

At this point my heart felt like it was being crushed, but I had to follow through, every moment hoping that he would back down.

“Okaaay,” he said. He then went off to his room, and started packing up his pillowcase.

After a few minutes, he came out, his pillowcase chocked full of his stuff. I don’t think he put any clothes in it, just his toys, and maybe a blanket.

“I’m going to say goodbye to Eva,” he said, full of little boy confidence.

“NO!” I exclaimed. The reality that my little boy was trying to leave startled me. He really thought that he was leaving for good. “It will make Eva sad if you tell her you are going.”

Joshua looked confused and conflicted.

“But, if I don’t tell her, she will cry when I’m gone.”

“She’ll cry if you tell her,” I replied, trying to figure out how I was going to reverse this terrible train-wreck that was unfolding before my eyes.

“Josh, you really can’t go,” I fumbled. “I would go to jail if I let you leave.”

“Really?” He said, shocked at the horrible idea.

“Yes.”

“I would break you out,” he said. I could see his little brain already trying to come up with an escape plan for me.

“No, you would probably be stuck in some other person’s house, and they wouldn’t let you leave.”

He looked troubled, not sure what to do.

I couldn’t take anymore. My attempts at bluffing my little boy had failed.

“Josh,” I said, pulling him near me, my heart aching. “I don’t want you to go. You are the only Josh I have. You are special. You are important. And I love you.”

He looked into my eyes, and it was as if we suddenly connected. Almost like when you recognize someone you knew and loved a long time ago and your eyes lock across a crowded room.

“Are you crying??” He asked, surprised.

“Yes,” I said, wiping away a large tear that had made it’s way to my cheek.

“Can I have a bite of your food?” he asked, eye-balling the quesadilla that I had managed to put together during the whole fiasco.

“Yes,” I laughed. “But only if you put all that stuff in your pillowcase away.”

He smiled, and ran to do what I asked. He zoomed in a moment later, and looked at me again. I was half-heartedly looking through a recipe magazine.

“Are you still crying?” Josh asked.

“Yeah,” I answered weakly.

He then sat down at the table and began to work industriously.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He looked up at me with a mischievous smile, and said, “It’s a surprise!”

A moment later, he presented me with a gift.

It was a paper airplane wrapped in a tattered piece of doodle pad paper. The air plane I had taught him to make a few short hours before.

I unwrapped it, and the words he wrote on it read, “I love you mommy,” and it was accompanied by two hearts, pierced through with an arrow.

He waited expectantly for my response.

“It’s beautiful, Josh!” I hugged him close.

“Those two hearts mean we’re together forever,” he explained.

I couldn’t ask for anything better.

I was riding high on this mother-son moment for all of ten minutes, when I heard Pepper call out in annoyance. I heard Josh talk soothingly to her, and I looked over to see Josh, lifting Pepper’s tail, about to satisfy his curiosity about something in his little man brain with a crayon and Pepper’s bottom.

Moment gone, reality sets in.

Oh boy. I think I’m in for it.

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

that made me cry... similar to my experience with Evan when he was a little boy (the wandering traveler)... Sometimes they figure it out.

ceej said...

*sniffle* it won't be long before my boy is lifting the cat's tail with a crayon ready.....

Tina said...

So sweet! I love moments like that. He's so smart Dara! I couldn't believe some of his responses. How did we get old enough to have almost 8 year olds? Sheesh. Stop growing up kids...

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