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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Snippets of Quirky

As Fall has started, the kids have needed to wear sweatshirts or light jackets to school in the morning. Ben has run out of sweatshirts at home, because he forgets them every day at school. He has borrowed Jonah's. And forgotten Jonah's. I finally told Ben this week that he was wearing the very last size 10 sweatshirt in the house, and if he wanted to stay warm at the bus stop in the mornings, he needed to bring his collection of sweatshirts home from school.

He just got off the bus carrying an armful of EIGHT sweatshirts. Which is a lot when you're a skinny little guy like Ben. He could hardly see over his load of cotton. It was so funny, I stood on the porch and laughed so hard I'm sure the whole neighborhood heard me. I hadn't realized how many sweatshirts  Ben had been keeping at school, and to see him tottering up the driveway carrying them all was more than my funny bone could bear.

As Aidan ate his after-school-cookie that he had requested I bake today, he started talking about nicknames. He asked about each of our family members, and whether they have "real" nicknames or not. Like "Ben" is a real nickname for "Benjamin." Most of us do not have real nicknames, we decided. Then Aidan asked about God. Does God have nicknames? I said well, what do you think? Can you think of any other names for God? We thought of lots of names that God is called, and Aidan's face lit up as he said "God has a LOT of nicknames!" For some reason, Aidan brings God and/or Michael Jackson into most important conversations. Ever since Michael Jackson's death, Aidan has let us know at every opportunity how he will see Michael when he goes to Heaven. How he loves Michael Jackson. How he can dance like Michael Jackson. How he's sure Michael Jackson liked certain things that Aidan likes. And Aidan's only 6, so he didn't know of Michael Jackson very long before his death, so I'm not sure what the fascination is.

Aidan is a funny kid. You sometimes think not much is going on in his very bright mind because he seems a little disengaged. Then he'll ask you something like "Mommy, does our conscience make us think thoughts?" Hm. Not sure about that. Maybe you can ask Michael Jackson when you get to Heaven.

You'll be driving along, lost in your own thoughts, and Aidan will strike up a conversation about God. "God is everywhere" he will declare. "God knows what we think about." "God is my best friend." "Where does God live?" "Where is Heaven?" "Is Michael Jackson for sure in Heaven with God?"

We are a religious family, but Aidan comes up with questions that he thinks up on his own. They're not possibly things he's discussed in Sunday School or heard about at church. He has ideas that none of our other kids have come up with, regarding Heaven and God. And Michael Jackson.

Now Ella is following suit. I can see her mind expanding. I can see glints of imagination lighting up. The other day she informed me that God wears pants. And also that Heaven is far far far away. I argued that I believe Heaven is all around us, not up in the sky or far away. She disagrees. I'm not sure where she gets her information, but it's worth considering. Who am I to disagree about God wearing pants when I have never seen God in person? Maybe Ella's right, who knows.

I love exploring my children's world through their eyes. I love the funny, crazy things they say. A few weeks ago, I was upset with Ben for something, and I was talking loudly and adamantly (aka yelling, but that's such an ugly word) with him. In the middle of this heated discussion with my son, Ella came up to me, hugged my leg and looked sweetly up at me. Then she said "I luf you Mommy. Does that make you happy?" Gulp. I made myself calm down immediately and said "Yes, that makes me very happy. I love you too." Then I continued to deal with Ben in a calmer manner. My three-year-old is capable of reminding me to be calm. Kind. Compassionate. Even if I'm furious. How amazing is that?

Yesterday, Ella wouldn't put her shoes on when we needed to leave the house. I was explaining why we needed to have our shoes on and helping her decide that she did, indeed, need shoes on her feet. Out of the blue, she asked "Mama, are you mad at me?" What!? She's never said that sentence before in her life. I said no, I'm not mad at you! And we had a conversation about being mad, forgiveness, etc. Later in the day, I snapped at Ella because I was exhausted and hungry and even Mamas get cranky, believe it or not. I apologized to Ella for being crabby with her, because I know that hurts her feelings. She piped up "It's ok, Mama. I forgive you. I still love you." Sheesh. I am learning a lot from this tiny little being.

Jonah knows the answer to this question, but asks it frequently just to hear the answer again as reassurance. He asks "Do you love me? Will you love me forever?" The answer is always yes, yes, yes. I love love love you. But the question makes me stop in my tracks and pay attention to Jonah, who obviously is in need of some Mama Love at that moment.

I think kids are fascinating. The way their minds work. The things that make them unique. The questions they have. It's an incredible gift to be able to spend my life raising these four interesting kids. Yes, it's challenging and frustrating sometimes, and sometimes I get cranky and upset, but then there are these moments that let me see into the hearts of my kids and what I see inspires me. Sometimes I don't know how to answer their questions (especially regarding Michael Jackson or God), but I know that they know that they are loved and respected. And they make me laugh loud enough for the neighbors to hear every day.

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