Saturday, October 1, 2011

Two Conversations

I had just picked Ethan up from school and we were walking up the sidewalk on our way to the playground. We do this every sunny, relatively warm day: school, then the playground. I like to let Ethan run out some his energy.

Behind us I noticed a woman pushing a boy in one of those strollers for bigger kids who have disabilities. He didn't speak. I realized he might be in Ethan's class. One of Ethan's classmates had told her mom (a friend of mine), "We have a baby in our class. He doesn't talk." Ethan had told me the boy "sits in a stroller."

We walked, Ethan and I, and this mom behind us pushed her son.

"Can I go on the playground?" Ethan was asking, as he does every day. "I want to go down the pole!"

Behind us I heard, tenderly, "Did you have a good day at school today?" No response. "Did you go outside?" Again, no answer.

"I want to do the pole all by myself!" Ethan was exclaiming. "I want to run!" He started jogging toward the playground gate.

Behind me, this mom pushed the stroller to a stop. She opened the car door and gently began to unbuckle her son.

On the playground, Ethan was already up to the pole. "Watch me!" he shouted and he slid down. I thought about all of the times I had wished he would do more on this playground. Interact more. Say hi. Not stare through people.

I thought about how little I had ever stopped to be thankful that his little legs could run. Thankful that he had now mastered sliding down the playground pole on his own...could make a wobbly walk across the balance beam...would soon would master the mechanics of pumping on the swing.

The mom hoisted her son up and held him momentarily before placing him in his car seat. He seemed unaware. But there was something about the way his head rested on his mother's shoulder. He was soaking in the love.

While Ethan played, she buckled her boy in his seat and got behind the steering wheel. Before they drove off, I saw her put down his window, making sure he wasn't too hot. Making sure he could see outside better.

As I watched this mom I did not know, this was not a moment of be grateful you have so much when others have so little. No. I was thinking we both have so much.

As they drove away, I kept thinking about love and dependence. I kept remembering this mother's gentle touch and soft words, the love that poured out from her.

And I remembered how we are all lacking. How we all are so much more dependent, so much less in control, then we think we are. Like that eternal poem "Footprints," I thought of God carrying us in all of our weakness, with tenderness, wanting to have a conversation, even if we don't talk back.


Anonymous said...

Well said! For me one of the best parts of having my son in a special needs class is getting to know the other parents. Some of the moms there are just so patient and so joyful to be with their children- even when there are huge challenges. It definitely encourages me and helps me be more grateful too!

rhemashope said...

'But there was something about the way his head rested on his mother's shoulder. He was soaking in the love.'

i can see it. i can so see it, deb. i want to rest my head on Jesus tonight. soak in the love.

thank you.