Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I don't write about Anna all that much on here, mostly because the older she grows the more fiercely protective she becomes of her privacy (as with all tweens and teens). So I won't go into too much detail. But I will say this: on Friday Anna broke her arm just above the wrist in two places, and we are so darned proud of her.

Three years ago she fell off the monkey bars and had a slight fracture near her elbow. It was not a pleasant time. Physically, the break wasn't as bad (she almost did not need to be casted). Emotionally, the incident wore all of us down. Anna HATED having a cast. She didn't like standing out. She couldn't stand people asking what had happened. She wanted long sleeves to cover her cast. Forget anyone signing it; she wanted to pretend it didn't exist. It was a very long three weeks or so.

This time around, aside from being concerned about her pain and things healing correctly, both Dan and I wondered how we'd cope with the drama again. Except -- Anna has been fine. She's headed off the school with short sleeves, and patiently put up with the "62 times" she was asked about her arm at school, in her estimation. She was a little upset about sitting out gym class, but overall she's kept in good spirits. She's been cheerful, and dare I say...mature? about the whole thing.

Sometimes -- and I know other parents out there understand -- sometimes as a parent, you just need that. Sometimes, when there have been too many days when advice falls on deaf ears, when your children make the same mistakes again and again and again, as a parent you just want to crawl under the covers and wonder, is anything I'm doing making any difference?

In parenting the garden analogy holds up so well, indeed. Parenting is a LOT about planting seeds and waiting. Watering. Watching. Hoping. Praying. Wondering if something is going to spring up that wasn't there before. Trusting that small actions are making a difference in the unseen, and that someday, somehow, we will see the fruit.

On Saturday while Anna rested her swelling broken arm we watched Ethan take to the soccer field once again. The game was an ugly one. Let's just say I lost track of how many goals the other team scored, and for a good portion of the game, the only goal his team had was one accidentally scored by the other team.

I watched Ethan closely, because as we all know, the best laid plans of behavioral color codes and promised prizes sometimes only go so far. I saw him start to break down but wipe away his tears. He kept looking over at me, and I'd give him a thumbs up. At the end of the game, the score of which was something like one zillion to three, he asked, "Are you proud of me for having control?" My grin could have split my face in two. I high-fived him and we headed to Dunkin' Donuts.

These moments are fleeting. So much of life with school-aged kids ends up being about lost homework assignments and backseat fights; little white lies and messy rooms. As parents we spend so much time instructing, listening, cautioning, (hopefully) modeling. And there are many days when it seems absolutely futile. But then...then here and there we catch a glimpse. Like that seed popping up from the ground and stretching its leaves to the sun.

I will never, ever take it for granted.