Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the little part of me that breaks

Cannot imagine. What it would be like. Right now. Not hearing Oogie. Me—finally, downstairs at the writing desk. While she’s in her room. Just a three-year-old. In her big safe world. Scooby Doo. Pink walls. Stuffed animals. Books and dolls. Bouncing around on her bed just before she goes to that place where she says she meets talking ladybugs. Lions that love her. And her brother. And the two of them rule dream world—just as they do in this old house in this old neighborhood—running, hugging, laughing. Chasing bubbles. Building forts. Throwing snowballs in each other’s face just to show the depth of their unbreakable bond. Their BFF-to-the-end affection. And I think of my boy—Little Man—tonight on the couch looking like all the wind had gone out of him. “Rough day at school, hey?” He put his head on my shoulder. And we just sat there. Watching Home Alone. Waiting for fish sticks and tater tots to brown in the oven. And I kept thinking that it was only a few hours ago that I saw him run up onto the stage with a half dozen other kids for their first grade Christmas play. He was smiling and proud, waving at me. Excited. And then, some other kid—probably just as proud and excited—yelled at him, “NO! Get out of here! You’re not part of this!” My boy. Standing there. Just as confused as I was because I saw his name on the program as being part of this part that the kid said he was not part of. And then, he walked away. Embarrassed. Sad. And there it was. Here it is. That little part of me. That breaks. Because no matter what I do to guide and teach. No matter how much I love him. There is nothing I can do to protect him. Save him. Stop whatever it is that waits for him. His sister. All those other little kids that were just there to sing. Wear Santa hats. Penguin costumes. And bring a little joy to our world. But this is the thing you cannot show while sitting among fifty other parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. It is not the thing you can show to your wife at your side. Your daughter on your lap. Or your boy. As he waits. Awkwardly. Ten feet from the stage. For his chance to get back up there and show us what it is he’s been practicing for every day the past two weeks. A lifetime in kid-dom. No. I cannot imagine what it would be like. And I hope this is the closest I will ever get. To not hearing Oogie. Me—at my writing desk. While the kids are upstairs. Heads to pillows. Bodies cozy in big blankets. Getting ready to run and laugh and hug. With ladybugs. Lions that love them. And the two of them can rule this world. With an unbreakable bond. Filled with BFF-to-the-end affection. Bless you little kids in Newport. And bless you too, kids all over the world. ~ K.J.

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