Cam says on the way to school: ‘Mom, I’m quite sad and worried about you because you’re approaching old age.’ I tell him 38 isn’t all that old, and how I’ve hopefully got a few good years in me yet because it’s possible that I’m not even halfway through my life and that he needn’t be sad and worried. He worries too about his independence – asks quiet and concerned – ‘What if I can’t match my buttons in the right order even when I’m a grownup? What if my wife has to do my buttons for me?’
And we lie in bed some nights sad and worried too because why doesn’t God just heal Cam’s eyes and give us a glory story to tell the world? How could this slow stretching of us possibly be more readable? And why is our regular seven-year-old who doesn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with lost Lego forced to process Big Difficult Things that crop up in regular lives so much later, if at all?
But then he prattles on the way home about his first day back at school. Their theme this week is garden creatures and they’re revising all the spelling words from Term 1 and there were three class birthdays today and there were cupcakes from one kid and party packs from two others but one mommy only packed twenty-four party packs and there are twenty-five in the class and so I didn’t get one he chatters happy and matter-of-fact without skipping a beat and so-and-so told me she went camping in the holidays and can we have cheesy toast for lunch?
I ooh and aah calm and interested at all the pivotal moments of his day’s unfolding plot but I’m thinking about that party pack. Not because we need the extra sugar this afternoon. But I’m wondering if the small someone handing out the goods thought that Cam wouldn’t see that he was being skipped?
Later we’re circling syllables in his spelling words and I circle back to the party pack. Like, was he really ok with how things went down?
‘So, um, why do you think you were the kid who didn’t get a party pack?’
He says, ‘Well, Mom. If not me, why another kid?’
And I’m stunned and humbled because sophisticated, strategic, world-leading grownups don’t always get this and nations war because of it. I’m also kind of deeply impressed by how my regular seven-year-old reminds me powerfully that the people in the world doing the things that really matter seldom have time to complain about how unfair things are and how Mariane Pearl was right when she said that self-pity, even when legitimate, never fails to undermine your strength. It gets me nowhere to ask, ‘Why me?’ Because really, ‘Why not me?’ And because whatever I’m living – I can make it my excuse, or I can make it a glory story worth reading.
I’d love to hear how you’re taking excuses and turning them into stories? And thanks for reading, friend. I’m honoured to share the journey with you. You’re welcome to stop by for a chat here, keep in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up to get these posts by email.