He sat up in bed after I kissed him and tucked him in and said very sweetly, “Mom, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you smell bad at night. I don’t know why, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”
Later I gargled with mouthwash and put some perfume on and went back into his room just as he was falling asleep. I jokingly asked three year old Collin if I smelled better now. He smiled drowsily and said, “You do! What did you do? Put some make-up on?”
I recently came across an old journal and a few notebook pages loaded with these kind of interchanges. I’m thankful I took the time to write them down.
When Brett was seven years old, I sat down to talk with him about an upcoming surgery I was scheduled for. Due to persistent endometriosis, I was having a hysterectomy. In language I was hoping he’d understand, I did my best to tell him what was going to happen during the operation.
After I was done explaining, he said in his most upbeat and matter-of-fact way, “then you’ll be a boy, right, Mom?”
Not exactly, well, I guess I did mention girl parts being removed…
That wasn’t the first time I confused Brett with delicate conversations. When he was three and we were expecting Collin, I read him a book called, “Where do babies come from.”
The book was in preschool terms and started out with a literal explanation of the birds and the bees, then went on to explain how a duck’s eggs are fertilized by the father. Lastly, it talked about a mother and father coming together to make a baby and how, in due time, the baby enters the world through the mom and her “special passageway.”
The next day it was hot in Tampa and I brought him to a crowded theater to see the latest Disney movie. Just as it was about to begin and all was quiet and still, he spotted a mom walking in holding a baby.
Brett spoke out in the loudest and clearest voice possible, “Mom, that baby came out of her mom’s butt just like I came out of your butt, right, Mom? Right, Mom?!!” Over the snickering all around us, I whispered in his ear that we’d talk about it after the show.
Maybe the book wasn’t the best idea after all.
When Marina was three she loved her dress up clothes and her wardrobe changed as often as her moods. Once, after a time out in her room for being sassy to me at lunch, she came down to the kitchen wearing a sparkly blue floor length dress.
I said to her, “How about if we start lunch over. We all get crabby at times and now we’re rested and new people.” She said, “yes, ok, mom, I’m the fairy godmother and you’re the evil princess.”
Haha, not quite the new people I meant!
A couple months after that, Rina was eating a popsicle that she loved and asked for a second one. When I said no, she said, “You can’t say that! You’re a nice mommy. You have to say, Sure!”
When Collin was three he also was sent to his room for a time out. When I told him he could come out, he walked out of his room with his hands together and his head down and prayed out loud, “God help me, my mom is really mad at me. Could you please help my mom to be nice. Thank you. Amen.”
Nothing like the prayers of your child to humble you right down to the floor.
When Brett was eight years old, he explained to Craig and I that his teeth are so sensitive to cold that he always chews on the side of his mouth. He said, “I never use my front teeth. They’re only there for decoration.”
Brett was only six when the Columbine school shooting occurred. Knowing that he’d be afraid to go to school, we tried to shield him from any news concerning what happened. Of course, he still heard about it from other kids at recess and on the bus.
One day he and his best friend were playing outside with Collin. They came in and told me, “If a bad guy came into our yard, Jeff and I would let him shoot us instead of Collin because he’s younger and he should get to live longer.”
I had no words.
Marina and I had, and still do have, sweet conversations in the car. When she was four she said to me, “Mommy, I don’t ever want to grow up. I want to be your little, little baby girl forever.”
Another time when she was two and we were driving, she pointed to a church in the distance. “See that cross on top, Mom? God loves us, Jesus loves us.”
He most certainly does, baby girl.
And when Collin was two years and four months old, we told him a story about his brother and Dad and I, and we explained to Collin that he wasn’t there with us because he wasn’t born yet. He then exclaimed, “yeah that’s when I was with God. That’s when I was married to God and now I’m back.”
Oh, do I believe it with all my heart.
God has sent down to us the most precious gifts in our children and I’ll laugh and cry and fume and rejoice and smile and yell and cherish every moment.
Blessed Lord, open our ears to hear what Thou speakest and our eyes to see as Thou seest. Give us hearts to beat in sympathy with Thine at the sight of every little child; and above all, our Lord, to understand and experience how surely and how blessedly Thou fulfilest Thy promise, “Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”
-Andrew Murray, 19th century South African writer, teacher and Christian pastor
Mark 9:37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me.”