Some Mondays seem maliciously and anthropomorphically bent on proving what a small person I am. Today was such a Monday. True suffering, and momentous calamities, are different from mere aggravations, yet there is something peculiarly difficult about quantity of small troubles regardless of their quality.
Aggravations on top of aggravations can lead one to entertain thoughts representing smallness of mind:
1. Recalcitrant math student? One might be tempted to respond, "Fine, double-digit addition with carrying is stupid, don't learn it!"
2. 8 yo with flu symptoms? One might picture a backyard quarantine-yurt.
3. More month than money? One might idly wonder how much is in the 3 yo's piggy bank.
Monday, in anthropomorphic glory, saved it's coup de grace for the afternoon mail. A letter bomb arrived- well, actually a post card from a dear friend. The picture was of a beautiful vacation spot on the Adriatic. As soon as I saw the picture I was there, sitting at a cafe in loose white clothing while a waiter poured my drink. Greg inexplicably had a dark moustache. I could feel the heat of the sun on my skin, hear the water and sounds of the children playing at a distance while their nanny carefully looked after them.
Zap. Then I remembered I was in my dining room setting out bowls of cauliflower soup (yuck, but the kids like it) on a tablecloth that hadn't been properly cleared since breakfast.
I love the sender of the post card. She is one of my oldest friends, and the most beautiful of people. I'm so happy that she's on vacation as a celebration of finishing her Master's thesis. However, my first reaction was of utter jealousy instead of joy for my friend. That's the definition of smallness.
Smallness, meet me. Me, meet Smallness.
Did God know today would knock me flat? Is that why during my morning shower the hymn, "Be Still and Know That I am God," kept coming to my mind? God, the antithesis of smallness.
I'm glad tomorrow is Tuesday...
*I found this poem with a collection of poems my mother collected- I have been unable to find any information about the author. If anyone knows anything, drop me a line.
Last Good Friday Jack and I found ourselves in the E.R., not with an emergency, but because Jack had gotten ill and his on-call pediatrician wanted him seen immediately to rule out pneumonia. Off to the E.R. we had to go.
Waiting in the E.R. is boring. Most of the time when I take Jack we don't have to wait. A small sort of blessing; Jack's metabolic condition gives him a through pass when he is in crisis. This particular visit the waiting room was empty save us and two boys, one who looked to be 17 and what appeared to be his 12 year old brother. They caught my attention not only because they were there without any parents but because the 17 year old looked so incredibly sick to his stomach. I sat Jack as far away as possible.
Boredom may have made me nosey, or maybe I am just nosey to start with, but I kept an eye on the boys since their parents weren't there. I half expected the older boy to pass out. He looked so much like my oldest son that I found it especially painful to watch him looking so miserable. The younger brother radiated nervous energy and though vibrating, he kept to his seat.
After about 20 minutes a large man, an older version of the two boys I was watching, entered. He was that kind of man I'm used to seeing in TX. The clean-cut, quiet version of country. The kind that could run a ranch in his spare time while also being the principal at the local high school. He looked muscular and tough and grim. The waiting room was small, there was no way I could avoid hearing what passed next.
The man went and sat in front of the older boy, their knees touching. The older boy became even more still and didn't look up.
"Son, first I want you to know that it is serious, but your brother is going to be fine." Here the man paused then said gently, "Look at me." The boy looked up at his father.
"I want you to know that it wasn't your fault," at this the boy seemed to start breathing for the first time in the long evening.
The man continued, "I'm sorry if I appeared angry, I was really worried about getting here fast enough but I was not angry with you. These kind of things just happen."
At this point I remember them hugging. I know the older boys face was transformed with relief- but in retrospect, if they were like the men I knew in TX, the hugging is just an embellishment of my imagination. They probably just slapped each other on the arms.
The three of them left to go see the injured brother and Jack and I left to have Jack's chest x-rayed. That was the last time I saw them. It reminded me of listening to Paul Harvey as a child with my mother, and having to get out of the car before the end of his radio show. What was the Rest Of The Story?
I thought about how my face often looks grim when I'm worried and how my own children sometimes misinterpret that. I mostly thought what a great dad this man appeared to be; he showed his love through eye contact, physical contact, and loving words. That's what everyone waiting in any E.R. needs.
Fall is shoe buying time. With 7 kids obviously we try to squeak by with the cheapest footwear we can. When I happen along on a sneaker sale it's a happy day.
All my newly shod boys are fast now. They'll tell you that repeatedly, if you can catch up with them. The 7 year old wanted a non-sale sneaker, until my husband remarked that if he got the same kind as his brothers they would look like a kind of team, or even a group of super heros. Spin-it Baby-Parenting at it's best.