all that matters

After school we huddle in the hammock, lie back and look at the clouds, talk about a hundred things. Like which girls chased him at recess and whether he liked the new pretzels we packed in his lunch.  Like what meteors are, and how old they are, and how weird that is, and also what kinds of noises people can make with their armpits.

I take my eyes off the sky and re-notice the way he holds so many question in his eyes.  He asks another out loud, and I do my best not to discount his inquisitiveness.
I also do my best to listen to his Minecraft adventures, even though I harbor a misgiving or two around the edges.  They are all stories I don’t really understand, or stories I feel like I've heard a million times, so maybe I don’t even really hear them anymore.

"Mom," he says, "I need to tell you something.  Sometimes I feel like you're not really listening to me."
I guess I'm wondering if someday, if he's still telling me stories when he's thirteen or thirty two, whether I'll hear echoes of one story inside another, echoes of these old questions inside the newest one.

"Tell me again what you were saying buddy?  You're right, I can listen better.  I'm sorry."

“Nevermind, it doesn’t matter.”
Well.  That usually means it matters a lot.  And even if it doesn’t matter a lot, if it matters, then it matters.
Later, I find him in his bedroom.  He’s brought a snack -dry cereal- upstairs, something we don’t do here, but I don’t really mind.  I had spontaneously decided to try to read everything he reads this summer, one way I thought I could be better at communicating, but I can’t keep up.  He brought two books home from the school library on Tuesday and finished both before five o’clock.  We do have several shared books going currently, my favorite being What is the Statue of Liberty? mostly because it’s been a fun way to learn myself.  Now he's reading Ordinary Boy, and I remind him that he's not, and that he matters.  And I listen really well to what's just happened in this chapter, before he begins to ask what's for dinner and where we're going tomorrow and whether you can make cheese with giraffe milk.


mike4sam95@yahoo,com said...

my granddaughter Reese [6 she comes w/ me to Lance's Christmas parties] recently told me that it would be fun to slide down a giraffe neck.i love these kids.i show and read your blog to Samantha. i am sure it would be a long cheese.

Poppy John said...

Jenni Baby,
Tell him I'm pretty sure giraffe cheese tastes a lot like chicken cheese.


Kristy G said...

SO guilty of not listening to minecraft for more than a minute...

However, cherish that time where he wants to tell you everything that happened at school. It tends to become less and less each year.

rht said...

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes...
"It seems that once we know we are not matter, nothing that is matter can matter."
Ganga Stone

Miriam said...

Love that your boys love books and a great reminder that I need to be more present for my own kids. I chuckled at the light peeking through that little rectangle in the blinds; those holes (we have many) are a daily reminder in our house that the kids always want to see what's going on out there!