I always look forward to my kids coming home from school.
Before any of you who actually *know* me start snorting in laughter,
let me qualify that by saying that I look forward to the moment
they come home from school.
I look to see them walking down the street
and I open the door and check their faces
to see what kind of day they had.
I hug them and ask about their day.
Then they get snack, start to fight,
and I feel somewhat less glad.
But, I digress.
Anyway, on Tuesday the boys walk up
to the house and I can instantly see there is trouble.
Trey's face is somewhat unreadable but poor Chris's face
is an open book of misery.
"What's wrong?" I demanded to know
as they set foot in the door.
After a few moments of hemming, hawing and denial
Chris blurts out "Trey told a girl on the bus 'I love you'!"
This is met with great wails of angst from Trey.
I led them into the living room, to try and make sense out of the story.
I mean, even in this age of political correctness,
is it *wrong* to tell someone you love them?
"Chris," I started, "so what if he told someone he loves them?
I mean, what is wrong with that? We could all use a little love.
"But MOM!!" he blurted, looking wildeyed and frantic,
"This was a FiFTH GRADER!!! And he KISSED HER! On the LIPS!
On. The. BUUUUUUSSSSS!"
This last part came out in a great wail of embarrassment, shock
"Aaaaagh!" Trey is sitting alongside his brother, crying, his mouth agape in the square shape of misery.
I feel like I am in some kind of Twilight Zone.
I know just a few minutes before I was eagerly anticipating them
walking up the sidewalk.
What in the hell happened????
"Okay. Chris, you were right to tell me that. You can go."
Relieved, Chris shuffles off, leaving Trey for slaughter.
I started on Trey's Inquisition:
"Trey, what were you thinking? Who is this girl?
Why did you kiss her on the lips?
How did you even REACH her lips? Was she sitting down?"
"Aaaaaaaagh!! :snuffle, snort: Aaaaaagh!"
Clearly, I'm not going to get much out of him.
I briefly go over that it is fine to like someone or love someone
and to tell them that but that it really wasn't okay to kiss someone
on the bus or at school, particularly a fifth grader when you are
(Hey Heather, remember the frat boy conversation? Be afraid. Very afraid.)
I then tried to take him in my arms for a cuddle, but he would have
none of it.
He was mad and he would have NOTHING to do
with the likes of me.
I can take that, I can relate to it.
So he wheels around me, and heads for the stairs,
sobbing all the while.
This is where it gets messy.
This is where I get the "You should have known better as a parent" badge.
As he gets about five stairs up, he trips.
Or does something so that he falls, just a little bit.
(those of you who know me see what's coming...)
He looks over at me,
face awash in tears,
and I start laughing.
Now, in my defense, this is a familial trait.
My mother does it, I do it, Kate does it.
Any kind of slapstick, pratfall, prank, someone being scared, whatever,
I laugh my fool ass off.
I totally cannot help it.
So, I laughed.
and that REALLY. PISSES. HIM. OFF.
He hurls himself up the remaining stairs,
slams his door shut
and starts wailing.
He is mad and by God, I am going to know it.
Every now and again, I hear phrases being shouted out in anger:
"EVERY one always LAUGHS at me!"
"Nobody LOOOOVES me!"
These phrases are interspersed with the dull thud of a flying shoe
or stuffed animal
I sit down there and listen
and snicker quietly to myself.
I know how that anger and rage feels
and that he's just got
to let it play out before he can hear me.
I'm okay with that.
But he's gonna clean that mess up later.
A few minutes later,
as I am sitting in the living room working on the computer
"Every body's always LAUG..."
and then silence.
Complete silence, mid word.
No more yelling.
No more crying.
No more thuds of flying objects.
I sit in the living room,
headed tilted quizzically to the side,
listening and wondering what the hell is going on in there.
What would have stopped him mid word like that?
A minute later,
his door opens
and his feet come shuffle-tapping
down the wood stairs
and into view.
He is not crying
and he looks dead serious.
"Mom," he whispers,
"I was in my room throwing a temper tantrum
and I was throwing things
and I threw God on the bed
and he bounced
and he hit the wall
and I BROKE GOD!"
His little hands hold out to me
what he calls God.
It is, in actuality, the Joseph figure
or a shepherd or something from the Nativity scene.
He snarked it a couple of years ago and took it up to his room.
He keeps it on a shelf and when he is feeling insecure,
will move it over to his bed.
When he was sick, God accompanied him to the bathroom.
For him, it is a literal comfort figure.
And now, before me, stood my little six year old son,
with God's body in one hand
and God's head in the other.
"I didn't mean to," he whispered, head bowed,
and just like that,
my heart fills with such love and compassion
for this child
who feels emotion
so strongly and deeply,
whether it be love that must be declared
or anger at being small and misunderstood
....and laughed at.
"That's okay," I told him.
"We can glue God's head back on
and he'll be just as good as new.
And I'm sorry I laughed at you when you tripped on the stairs."
And we hugged
and all was well.
God was glued
Trey cleaned up his room
the storm has passed
and we are washed clean.
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