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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teach Me Love

"Mom, I can't find my reading book!" Rory shouted from the top of the stairs.  "I can't find my BOOK!" he repeated for emphasis.  I could hear the panic in his voice as he barreled down the steps.  Although Brother's thoughts are pretty loosey goosey first thing in the morning, he enjoys being prepared for school.  We all crave structure.

"What book?" I asked.
"A Wrinkle in Time.  Please help me find it!"

"Calm down," I suggested as he began searching in places his reading material would never be - the cupboard where we keep cereal bowls, my pocketbook and the fridge.

"Mrs. Kiser says I need to bring that book every day!" he exclaimed as he slammed shut the door to the oven and headed for the pantry.

I stood in the living room with one sock on my foot and the other in my hand, only half-prepared for a crisis.  Some coffee would be helpful, but there wasn't any time.

"I'm gonna miss my bus!" he bawled.
"Get a hold of yourself, son.  Where is your backpack?"
"It's not in there.  I checked."

Rory's knapsack lay in a heap in the middle of the hallway.  I groaned as I dragged it into the kitchen.  We lifted it together onto the counter.  The bag weighed 85 pounds, easily.

"Open it," I said.
"Why?" he argued.  "I already looked.  Twice."
"Just open it."

Rory's satchel bared its metal teeth at us, taxed to capacity with unaddressed fifth grade facts.  As I dealt with the uncooperative zipper, I could almost hear his school supplies gasping for breath.

I cleared away some crumpled up papers and gave an earnest tug to a large binder without success.  On my second attempt, I plucked out his pencil case, a very pointy scissor and my packing tape dispenser, fully loaded.

"Why do you have this?" I asked.
"In case of an emergency."
"A shipping emergency?"
"Mom, please just help."

I yanked at the binder again and this time, it slid from its lynchpin position.  The remaining contents of the bag heaved a collective sigh of relief.  I pointed into the darkness at the bottom of Brother's receptacle.

"There it is," I said.
"Oh my God.  You're AWESOME!"  He flung his arms around me.  "You saved my life!"
"Don't be so dramatic.  You better hurry up or you're gonna be late," I replied.

I carefully stepped away from the debris and opened the blind over the sink.  The morning sun burst through the window and seemed to celebrate my excellence.

My youngest boy scooped up his equipment, kissed me goodbye and galloped out the door toward the bus stop.
"See you later!" he called over his shoulder.

Suddenly, the house was quiet.  Both boys were gone for the day, discovering how to be in the world.

"I should watch the news," I thought to myself.  I picked up the remote and started pressing buttons.

*******

Rory is ten years old.  By definition, he is still a child.  He does not see things the way I can.  I am fifty one.  I am good at some stuff, like being his mom and locating misplaced books.  We can learn a lot from one another.

And when he gets home from school this afternoon, he can show me how to turn on the TV.

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