There may be more than one way to tell each other things.

He's telling me about his chalk drawing, about fixie pig and pink bird, the characters he's sketched on the front sidewalk.  His voice does that thing where he’s saying something but it sounds like he’s thinking about something else.  And I do that smile where I don’t really get what he’s saying.
We're trying to make up, trying to forgive each other for strong emotions.  He's faster at it than I am.
I recycled a paper from school, one on which he'd practiced making the letter T approximately seventy five times. Horizontal line at the top, where the airplanes fly, vertical line from the middle down to the bottom where the grass grows, he explained when we looked at it together last week, circling the Ts we thought looked best.

When he helped take out the bin today, he saw the worksheet and began to cry, fat tears rolling down his cheeks the way a favorite toy might fall down the sewer grate.  The thing is, I've seen him make Ts for a few years now.  I didn't know the paper was special.  There's no way we can keep every page he brings home.

I’m wasting my breath.  No matter how valid my soliloquy, it’s lost on the boy who is gripped by disappointment.  I cannot manage his difficult emotions.  This summer, I remember, his favorite rock cracked.  Despite having hundreds more, infinite options, it must've felt to him like a skinned knee, without blood it still hurt.  This time it was my fault, I ruined his day, careless and cruel.  I could not change the way he felt, but I could listen and empathize, hug and apologize.  I could promise to be here, always.
There may be more than one way to tell each other things, and more than one way to listen.  Tonight he left a Lego structure on my bedside shelf, kind of like mints on my pillow in a fancy hotel, an obscure nonverbal message.  Please don't throw away my work, it whispers.  Thanks for being here, I think I hear.  I love you, loud and clear.


rht said...

My stomach still clenches when I think I have inadvertently upset you... but I'm still here... thanks for all the times you've forgiven me ; )

Christy said...

You are such a good mama.

Kristy G said...

This is a tough one. We end up taking a photo of nearly everything and just keeping several things from each year. It's so hard!! The little things mean the most to them.