Monday, November 17, 2014

a non-fiction love story

This past Friday, the boys and I woke up to the first snowflakes.  There was the sound of heavy footsteps that careened across the master bedroom floor as Isaac conveyed in his best whisper (which, is non-existent): "Mom! It's snowing!  REALLY snowing outside!  Come on!  Look!"  I won't lie and say I wasn't the teeniest bit excited.  The boys were so enamored that they ate breakfast in silence, facing their chairs at the kitchen table to the wonderland in the backyard.  "Mom, I LOVE snow." Isaac smiled with a giant grin, a front tooth freshly missing from the day before, eyes sparkling.  He was hopping up and down and squeeling.  I was thinking about how much longer it was going to take to get boots, hats, gloves, and backpacks together to get to school...

Isaac is quick to the extremes:  He LOVES snow.  He LOVES carbon-fiber super cars. He even loves a girl in his class named Rylee.  Wait, what?  Rewind.  Loves a girl?  Besides ME?  Yes.  This is a new love, and one that I thought for sure would be something we wouldn't have to deal with until much later.  Much, MUCH later.  But, here we are...and Isaac is full of questions and feelings that as an adult, are to explain.

It all started last week.  Isaac came home from school with his usual tales and adventures from the day.  We like to preface the recount with whether it's fiction or non-fiction (he likes to embellish, which is fine, but I just need to know what really took place before I start calling the school and apologizing to parents...)

"Mom, me and Rylee played at recess today."

"Oh, yeah?  How fast is she?"

"Oh, mom...she is fast!  But, I'm a little faster.  We raced and then guess what?"


"She almost tripped, but I jumped and caught her just in time. I rescued her."

"You did?  That was very kind of you, Booder."

[He looks down and grins a goofy grin]  "Yeah...then she hugged me.  And told me she loved me.  I love her too."

Now...pause in the story.  As a mom, you like hearing good stories about things your kids experience.  You like hearing any stories about the day at all, honestly...but, this one, it made me look at Isaac a little differently.  I saw this little boy who had struggled for so long to express ANY feelings or emotions in words--and then, to hear THIS.  It broke my heart, and then glued it back together all at once...

"Well,"  I continued, "it's okay to be a friend to a girl--help her, be kind to her, laugh and do things with her--but, I think love is a word that means more than you think."

He looked at me and put his Hot Wheels cars down that he had been focused on.  "I know what love is."  And like that, my whole mommy talk was shut down.

The topic didn't end there, however.  It came up many times out-of-the-blue in the week.

"Mom, Rylee was picked to be in my gym group!  She ran over and hugged me and it was AWESOME."
"Mom, Rylee sits by me at lunch every day and we talk about stuff and she thinks I'm cool."
"Mom, I love wanna know why?  Rylee is there."

Back to Friday...the snow Isaac loves so much kept coming.  The Principal of Isaac's school sent out a phone-blast--early dismissal was available for parents who wished to pick up to avoid the traffic and road conditions.  Naturally, my car pool partner and I agreed that this was a good idea.  Only, when Isaac was dropped off, I watched as he drudged through the snow into the house.  When he plopped his backpack on the floor and looked up at me, I saw tears and quivering lips.  "Why did I have to leave school early?  Why!?  I won't get to see Rylee until Monday now..."  I had to hug and console Isaac and assure him that I could be as fun as Rylee.  Poor boy.  He's got it bad.

These feelings and emotions are o.k., and they are normal.  And maybe that's why I am confused.  When you have a child with special needs, you o
ften assume things (far too many things):  They won't learn the same or at the same level as "typical kids"; they won't understand or pick up on things; they won't fit in or make friends; they won't, they can't, blah blah blah.  I am guilty of these assumptions, as many of you reading this are.  But love is something every person has the capacity to understand, and to express--no matter how they can express it, or to what extent it touches them.

Over the weekend, I overheard a conversation between Dan and Isaac that will forever be embedded in my mind and heart.  I was putting dishes away and from the living room, I heard Isaac ask, "Dad, when did you know you were going to marry mommy?"  I listened as Dan told our youngest son the story of our meeting, our first date, our finally admitting that we truly loved one another and chose each other.  He explained what dating was, how old he was and how he needed to have a job, be able to pay bills, and drive a car.  Isaac went on to ask about "what mommy was like when she was pregnant with me?"  Dan laughed and said, "she was happy."  Isaac said, "Yeah...that's why my name means laughter.  I'm the funniest."

Isaac has lots of questions and lots of extreme emotion.  He most certainly knows love. He certainly knows who he is and that he is capable of loving and expressing that if I can just keep myself open to not being jealous of 2nd grade girls who think my son is "cool," and just laugh...because that's what Isaac means, after all.  I will ready myself for non-fiction stories about love.

my little lover