I rather like being a clear cut it is either right or wrong kind of person. The cop out answer of “It’s complicated,” more often than not is an excuse to do what you want to do anyway because you’ve spent some time rationalizing it.
Yet as a mother of three children, with different personalities and ways of doing things, it’s not always easy to show them that I’m being clear cut with the principle of the issue. Perhaps it is because they, as children, appear to us adults to be always on the lookout for any amount of unfairness. It is as if they go to special training to hunt out any possibility that their brother or sister may have gotten away with something that they did not.
My son got out some roast leftovers (which I managed to incorporate into breakfast this morning) for lunch and I told him no, because we were going to use some of it again at supper time. My daughter pulled out a biscuit from this morning and he was upset that she was getting away with it. I gently reminded him that biscuits weren’t on the menu for tonight, but the leftover roast had appeared at breakfast this morning and would again at super tonight so he didn’t need it at lunch as well.
I look at how some adults, as individuals, corporations and even nations interact with each other and it seems to me that many of them never outgrew that childish phase of hunting for ways where they were being treated unfairly. I wonder what would happen if they spent the same amount of time volunteering and making a difference in their community?
Missing one of your children is an interesting experience. My husband moped around the house for a few weeks. He missed Michael greatly. I certainly noticed that my right hand in cooking was gone. We all missed Mr. Witty and random fact spiller. But Greta’s reaction was one of the most endearing.
As I tucked her into bed one night and we discussed her missing brother, dutifully working at summer camp, she wondered about the most important part of their relationship as siblings. “Will Michael forget how to tickle me?”
I assured her that Michael wouldn’t lose his ability to tickle her and they would still have a lot of fun when he got back. The simplicity of childhood – and yet the most vulnerable and intimate. Here we were, adults and so mature, thinking about surface level areas of missing our son. Greta went straight for the heart of the matter, to a very personal level, and she wasn’t afraid to do so. She also seemed much more at peace once I had reassured her of her biggest most personal fear about her brother being gone.
Perhaps we, like Greta, should open up about our deepest fears to people we can trust instead of dwelling forever on the surface level ones. The sooner we are assured – the sooner we have peace.
My two youngest children are participating in a bike-a-thon for their school today. We are trying to train them to do some of their own fundraising and I suggested a particular name to Matthew. He asked for the phone number and I dialed it for him then handed him the phone. I heard the sweetest thing from him.
Mrs. T., this is Matthew. I was wondering if you would sponsor me and my sister for the bike-a-thon tomorrow.
Just when you think that your kids will never learn to work together, play together or figure out a way to get along before they are adults, this happens. Me and my sister. At the family breakfast table this morning, I shared the story with my husband who had been at a board meeting last night. The story melted his heart too.