My boy gives me flowers. When I get “angry” the first thing he does is kiss whatever part of me he can reach (normally my elbow or arm) or attempts to rub my back. When I was sick last Sunday, he made a card for me on which he’d drawn a bottle of Diet Coke and inside a HUGE, red heart (that he colored, and he HATES to color) that said, “Get Well. Love Coke and Thad.” He hugs me for no reason. And tonight when he smelled some new chapstick I had bought for him, he said, “It smells like cookies with a hint of ginger.”
He also forgets to change his underwear. His armpits already smell like those of a 13 year old basketball player. He was so excited to camp out in the back of the truck with his Daddy in the FREEZING COLD RAIN in February because “We’re not sissies.” He has conversations with Junebugs. He can wax poetic about Legos and Bionicle Legos and Hotwheels and Transformers. He loves to play with water balloons and dig in the dirt and ride his bike.
About 8:00 o’clock, in the midst of cleaning his bedroom that was IMPASSABLE. . .he decided he needed to be close to me. Then he began to cry. “I miss Pop,” he said–tears streaming from his big, tired eyes. Then he wept. . .really, really wept. This happens every couple of months. He misses Pop. Or he misses the little friend who had the birth defect from his 4 year-old class. Or he misses his old friends from Lamkin. Or he misses Pop some more.
I held him (and his dirty underwear) while he cried and cried over the grandfather that he didn’t know long enough. I told him it was okay to miss Pop and that it was okay to cry, but that Pop was great right where he was, and he wouldn’t want us to cry. He would want us to laugh and have a good time. But it was still okay to cry too.
Then I fixed him milk and cookies, and the only person in the world who can TRULY make him feel better took over. That would be his sister. That girl has been able to make him smile like no other person on the planet since he was born. . .he has watched her and followed her and put up with her. . .and we DEPEND on her to pick up where mere parents leave off.
Thank you, God for Pops and for sisters and for milk and cookies–for laps and hugs and chapstick–for flowers picked by dirty hands, for tears to wash away sadness, for tender-hearted little boys, and for hearts to remember it all.