Monday, March 7, 2011

Simple Joys

I was going to pour everything out.

I was going to write about the weekend, about the annoying behaviors that have returned, (suddenly doors and drawers are big to Ethan once more, and I don't know why), about the meltdown that occured in the hobby store because it was full of good, old-fashioned toys that don't have buttons, which Ethan didn't like, and a marble toy that he did very much like, so much so that when I tried to move him on he fell to the floor, screaming.

I was going to write about the way I had to drag him past the rows of toys he had no interest in, and how we sat in the car and Dan talked in a small voice about how he had seen so many model airplanes in the store, and how he had always dreamed about building models with his son for hours on end the way he and his dad did. Dan doesn't often grieve but I could hear the grief in his voice...because even if some day Ethan decides to really like models and does end up spending special time with Dan doing that, things aren't exactly the way either of us imagined they would be.

I was going to write about all of the toys in our playroom that often go unused, and how, if I let them, they scream "Defeat!" at me. I was going to write about the countless times lately I've tried to coerce, encourage, sneakily introduce new, intriguing toys that aren't electronic in nature, scouring shelves at toy stores and Target and consignment shops, looking for the holy grail of toys that will suddenly turn a key and "Poof!" Ethan will enjoy play. He'll dig in his toy boxes and scatter everything around the room and use his imagination and learn and grow and not get enjoyment out of carefully opening each of his bureau drawers, lining them up with precision, and then slamming them shut.

I was down this weekend. I wanted to get it all out here. But then I brought Ethan to school today. His new aide (apparently they switch them around every few months) greeted him with a smile. She leaned low and looked straight at him and asked, "Ethan, what town do you live in?"

"Windsor," he replied softly. I was amazed. Impressed yes, that he remembered his town (something Anna still forgets) but more so at the look in her eyes. The anticipation. His aide KNEW he could do it. I could see the expectation in her face. She'd been working with Ethan for just four days, but she believed in him. She was waiting for him to confirm what she seemed to already know -- that she'd taught him something last week and that he was one smart cookie who would carry the information over to Monday.

I walked back to the car, recalling simple joys. The big "hi!" I got this morning from Ethan, with a smile. The fact that he is very close to being completely toilet trained, and that our nighttime capers have all but stopped. The way he's taught himself all of his upper and lower case letters. I thought of he and Anna this weekend, sending their slinkies down the stairs, or the way he asked to play with bubbles in the water with his sister. I thought of the sheer joy he finds sitting and watching his dad play the ocean game on the Wii, commenting on the sea slugs and holes (Ethan is really into holes at the moment) and dolphins.

All of my life I have had this laser vision for finding the one thing wrong about a situation and honing in on it until that one wrong thing swallows everything around it. I know that I cannot live this way and live well. I have to celebrate what's right and not swim in the pit of all that is wrong. Or at least...not spend half the time I've been spending there lately.

There will always be something to be stressed about. Hadn't I learned this when it came to worrying if he'd talk? Ever stay in bed? Ever be potty trained?

There will always be something to mourn, but simultaneously something else to rejoice...if I only make the choice.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

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