Asking the Tough Questions

Elliott: Augie, did anyone cry today at school?

Happy Fall, Y’all!

1143 1143_ () 1143 1143

Well, it’s almost 4 p.m. Time to start getting them ready for bed.
I love you, Daylight Savings!



The difference between my world and yours: I never saw this coming

1142 1142_ () 1142 1142 Augie came downstairs tonight, after I’d tucked him in, to ask me a question.

“What does s-i-s-s-y spell?”

“It spells sissy,” I told him, raising an eyebrow.

“Sissy,” he repeated. I asked why he wanted to know.

He told me a girl in his class had asked their teacher at school today how to spell that.

“And your teacher told her,” I asked, surprised. I knew the teacher would never encourage name calling. “Who was she calling sissy?”

“She has a little sister,” said Augie. “They call her Sissy.” 1142″>



1141 1141_ () 1141 1141 Column
I’m standing in the kitchen working on a pot of soup. A sweet smell fills the air as I chop a few onions and toss them into the sizzling butter. Elliott stands to my left, peeling carrots. Ethan is next to him, dicing potatoes.Charlie is in the dining room, thinking about who he will be for our neighborhood All Saint’s Day party in a few days.

“Who is the patron saint of anacondas,” he asks me. That afternoon, we had been watching a National Geographic special on these fascinating (terribly scary) creatures and I marvel that he thinks an anaconda would even need a patron saint. The prayers should go up for anyone in its path.

“Probably St. Francis,” I tell him. I ask if that is who he’ll be for this year’s party. He says he isn’t sure. I tend to push the scholars (St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Leo the Great), but the boys always seem drawn to the holy men who died a bloody death. We have had a St. Sebastian almost every year that I’ve been a mom.

Augie sits at the dining room table at work on a project. His artistic skills advance more each day, and he seems to relish in his newfound abilities to stay in the lines and draw exactly what he wants. I am amazed at his progress. Each drawing includes added features on his creatures. The long legs and short arms are now joined by hair and smiles and eyebrows. There are also special functions for these creatures, and details in the background.

Henry sits happily in his seat. He’s looking at a few brightly colored toys dangling in front of him. He’s starting to learn that if he moves his foot just so it touches something that makes a noise he likes. Ethan walks over to Henry and leans down to talk to him. Henry looks up at his big brother and smiles.

Later, I look out the window and see the four big boys playing in the backyard. They have set up two markers, measured directly out from home base. They are taking turns pitching and hitting to each other. One boy gets discouraged by his strikes and the others start to get annoyed with his complaints. “You don’t stink at stick ball,” they tell him with exasperation. “You just need to keep trying.”

After a few swats, the boy makes contact with the ball, and his brothers are quick to congratulate his victory. He comes in the house in a better mood, commenting on what good players his brothers are, too. Their offers of encouragement allow him to do the same.

After dinner, Paul finishes the book he has been reading to the boys. The boys are excited because the Little Prince realizes that what is special about his rose is his relationship with it. He has an appreciation for his flower, and realizes that what makes his flower different and special is simply that he loves it.

The sky is gray; leaves are falling and the temperature feels like fall. And this time of year, perhaps with Thanksgiving not too far off, the sweet little details of my life come into focus. I recognize the pleasures of cooking a good meal and reading a good book. I realize the beauty of playing in the yard with my boys, of tender hugs and sweet kisses – and also spirited wrestling matches with dad (I’ll stay on the sidelines).

I am overcome with gratitude for this life. And when I start to feel sheepish about all I have been given, I realize that it is love and warmth that I am enjoying. The beauty of this life God has given us is that the simple acts of love are what mean the most. 1141″> ?