[Adapted from the archives]
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 that I’m not all that old, and 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 he needn’t be sad and worried.
He’s also sad and worried about his independence – asks quiet – ‘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?’
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 kid who battles to process lost Lego forced to process Big Difficult Things that should only crop up in regular lives so much later, if at all?
But then he prattles on the way home about his day. They’re revising all last term’s spelling words and there were three class birthdays today and there were cupcakes from one kid and party packs from two others but one mom only packed 24 party packs and there are 25 in the class and so I didn’t get one he says happy and matter-of-fact without skipping a beat and so-and-so told me she went camping and can we have cheesy toast for lunch?
I listen, offering oohs-and-aahs at the pivotal moments of his day’s unfolding plot.
But I’m thinking about that party pack.
Not because we need the sugar stirred into our afternoon. I’m just 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?’
‘Well, Mom. If not me, why another kid?’
I’m a little stunned. 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 my kid’s powerful reminder 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 us nowhere to ask, ‘Why me?’ Because really, ‘Why not me?’
And because whatever we’re living – we can make it our excuse, or we can make it a glory story worth reading.
. . .
Love and strength to you for this new week!