In the early morning darkness, I crept quietly down the stairs. Light and shadows flickered in an erratic little dance on the wall. Rounding the corner my heart warmed at the sight of my husband and five-year-old son snuggled contentedly on the couch. A blanket pulled up over their feet, my son rested his head on his dad’s shoulder with his little fingers splayed across his daddy’s chest. Unnoticed in the still-dark room, I watched shadows rise, fall and elongate on their faces, while identical smiles played at their lips as Bugs Bunny foiled Elmer Fudd once again. In that moment they were perfect, these two “boys” whom I so dearly love.
Although this little boy is often my most difficult, I was reminded in that moment just how precious he is. The boy whose boundless energy and noise often has me pulling at my hair, is also the little boy who tenderly helps his younger sister get dressed and patiently plays tea-party with her. The boy we nick-named “the destroyer” for his tendency to handle everything a bit too roughly, is the same boy who would rather snuggle next to me in bed on Saturday morning than watch cartoons with his brothers. The boy who finds all toilet-related words absolutely hilarious and feels compelled to yell them at the most inappropriate moments, is also the boy who will suddenly put down his toys, and as if overwhelmed with a rush of emotion, hug me and say “I love you, Mom.” This boy who has mischief always in his mind, matter-of-factly asked his Sunday School teacher when she was losing her voice, “How are you going to get after me? I’m going to get into all kinds of trouble if you can’t get after me.”
Our third son is definitely his own person, but at times he feels over-looked with two older brothers he can’t always keep up with, and a baby sister who still requires a lot of help and attention. So when his dad announced he was going to take each of the kids out to breakfast one at a time, starting with Tobias this week, he could not contain his excitement. He eagerly laid out his clothes the night before, taking care to place his underwear inside his pants for quicker entry, and hopped into bed without a fuss knowing he was going to get up early. I heard his cheerful little voice as he and his dad got ready at an hour when no one should be happy. And now, here they were, post-breakfast, serenely watching a favorite cartoon in those last few minutes before Dad had to go to work. It was perfect.
After his dad left for work, he regaled me with tales of the pancakes and eggs and two cups of hot chocolate. He simply glowed, overflowing with love for his brothers, his sister and me all day long. As I tucked him into bed, I bent to kiss his head and asked, “Did you have a good day, buddy?”
“Mom,” he replied, “when I went to breakfast with Dad, I felt really happy. I felt like I was going to be a good boy today.”