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Attention takes practice

Yesterday Mythankfulboy and I were both home by 4, a very rare occasion, indeed.  The truth is it was only the case because he thought he was going to the gym after school but it fell through at the last minute, and I was supposed to go to the gym to swim but forgot to take swim-appropriate shoes.  So, we found ourselves home on a rainy weeknight.  It was welcomed.

I wondered if maybe early evening, rather than bedtime, would be a good time to have him listen to one of the call-to-action sermons friends sent me after my earlier Mythankfulboy post this week (see below for some links).  He seemed happily onboard, so we settled in front of my computer monitor in my room, me in my office chair and he on a bar stool he brought in.  About 4 minutes in I glanced over at him, and he was sitting very still, eyes completely glazed over.  I paused the sermon and asked if it was hard to pay attention to, and he said, “Everything is hard to pay attention to.”  I asked if class lectures were hard, and he said, no, not usually, but that any time he needed to just be still and listen to words he couldn’t keep his mind on them.  He said, “I want to listen, I just can’t”.   I said, “That sermon last Sunday must have been excruciating.”  He said, “Yeah.”  I added, “That’s pretty normal, and you don’t have to listen to the rest of this.  It’s normal for most adults, and certainly for teens, and the more abstract the language, the harder it is.  It does take practice, so it is worth doing from time to time.  It means so much to me, though, that you tried, knowing it would be hard, just because I asked.”

He said, “Yup” in a manner just like his father.  He rubbed his eyes, stood up and stretched, and leaned down to hug my neck, in a manner just like his mother.

At dinner, B said, out of the blue, “You know Mom, most of my friends say they hate school, but I really don’t.  I kinda like it.”  I said, “I loved school, so I get that.”  He said, “Well, there are things I’d rather be doing, but I don’t mind getting up to get there and I like being there.”  I told him it was such a gift to feel that way, and that I hoped he always felt that way.  I didn’t say that I have several friends whose kids actively don’t want to be at school, and that I know how lucky I am, as a parent, that he is happy at school, particularly when his attention can be a struggle.  Blessed be.

Later, at the chalice lighting, he was thankful for a pair of his baby shoes I have sitting on my shelf (I think this was less sentimentalism and more than he was looking around the room for something to say).  I said, “Yeah, those are pretty precious, even if you took them off every chance you got.”  He grinned and puffed off the dust on them with a quick breath.  I said I was thankful that he liked school.  He said, “Yeah, me too.”

Sermons:

All Souls –  http://www.allsoulsnewlondon.org/sermonmanager.php?sermonID=136866

Erika Hewitt – https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ferika.hewitt%2Fvideos%2F10154239606264958%2F&show_text=0&width=400

Alison Miller – http://muuf.org/podcast/the-edge-of-hope-11-13-2016/

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Snow delays trump all

Tonight, at the chalice lighting, B was thankful for dodgeball, even though snowy roads meant he missed travel team practice tonight. I was thankful for the sweet message I got from the mom of one of B’s friends, bragging on B’s comportment at her son’s birthday party, and said out loud that I was thankful for my son’s show of good sense.

Then we got the call that there would be a 2-hour school delay tomorrow, and B bounded out of bed with glee. I’m guessing that snow delays might just win out over dodgeball if we were to do the chalice again!

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Sitting on the edge

Tomorrow will be the first day of fifth grade. I could wax poetic forever about my thankful boy growing up too fast, but that really wouldn’t be about gratitude, now would it?

B has a similar problem tonight. We can laugh and tease about hating school and dreading summer’s end, but the truth is, B is uniquely anxious about school. He worries he won’t be able to meet a teacher’s expectations for attention, that he won’t learn fast enough, that he’ll forget to do things and get in trouble, and that he won’t be able to handle some sensory aspects (like a neighbor’s long hair draped on his desk while she works, someone kicking his chair absentmindedly, or it being too hot in the room). He worries that he’ll do something he thinks is a reasonable choice and find the adult involved believed he was being insolent or, as in one unfortunate instance last year, aggressive. He worries adults won’t get him, and he’ll have no one to whom to turn. And so, tonight, after we did the chalice lighting, he didn’t want me to leave him. I curled up beside him and, being the sleep-deprived momma I am, immediately fell asleep.

“Momma?” “Yes Sweetheart?” “When I lay this way my side hurts.” “Try lying on your back for a while.”

Snore

“Momma?” “Yes Darlin?” “Whatsit called when it burns in your throat every time you swallow?” “Heartburn” (followed by definition, possible causes, and recommended treatments).

Snore

“Momma?” “Yes Love?” “Can you get me some water?” “Of course.”

Snore

“Momma?” “Yes Angel?” “I can’t fall asleep.”

Bless his heart. He covers it well by getting excited about back-to-school fashion, and tonight was thankful for the orange shirt, bright blue pants, and red shoes with blue laces he will wear in the morning (one thing he doesn’t worry about: other people’s opinions of his fashion ideas). I was thankful for a strange and blessed half hour we had at the YMCA pool this afternoon when it seemed a storm was coming and everyone left but B and me and we got some time to revert back to pool play the way we did it when he was a younger boy – me twirling him through the water, him sitting on my shoulders or jumping off my knees – things you don’t do with your mom when you’re going into fifth grade and other people are around. And one, long, long, hug sitting on the edge…

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Not hardly

The impending doom of school starting next week has brought all kinds of love and appreciation out of B. Last week he started saying “I love you” in situations where most people might say “thank you”, as in “Hey B – you want grilled cheese for lunch?” “I love you, Momma.”

This quickly escalated to the tried-and-true “I love you more” game. Tonight, at the chalice lighting, however, I had just made him stop watching TV to go to bed, so I was not in a position of highest regard. When I asked for what he was thankful he said

“Not the mean momma who wouldn’t let me watch the rest of America’s Got Talent.”

I said “Ooo – I’m so mean!”

He said “Yeah you are!”, laughing.

I defiantly responded “Not hardly!”

I didn’t even notice what I had said, but he stammered “Not – not what? What does that mean?!” I explained it meant “No way!” and he suggested I might say “That’s so untrue!” instead. I told him I was sticking with “Not hardly”, making him laugh harder. When he recovered, he asked for what I was thankful, and I said “I’m thankful for a clean boy”, celebrating his post-shower, wet-head, shampoo-scentedness.

As I blew out the chalice candle, B said “I love you”. I answered “Oh, but I love you more” planting a kiss on his forehead. As I turned the corner I heard “Not hardly!”

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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School pains

No chalice lighting tonight. B had a baseball game, in the middle of which he revealed to me the latest in a series of problems he’s had at school in which he has directly and knowingly disobeyed adults. No harm to anyone but himself, but the discussion that followed the game was heated (me) and tearful (him), and by the time he finished homework and showered it was very late and he really didn’t want anything to do with me. I kissed him goodnight as I tucked him in and he ignored me.

Tonight I am thankful for him – the good, the occasionally beautiful, and the stuff he inherited directly from me that gets him in trouble at school…

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Misplaced priorities

Last night, just before the chalice lighting, I read a dunning notice from B’s school about notes explaining absences. It pushed all of my buttons. Unfounded accusations. Us-verses-them language. Litigiousness. Misplaced priorities. They couldn’t have pushed more of my buttons if they’d tried. I crafted a fitting reply, sealed it, put it in B’s bag, and, feeling not good, but feeling justified, I joined him for the chalice.

I got just the response I wanted from the principal today, but —
I don’t remember for what B was thankful.

Now THAT is a case of misplaced priorities.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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