He sighs deeply on the couch next to me, and I reach over to ruffle his hair ever wondering how long before he won’t allow me to keep doing this gesture of love.
This is not how he wanted to end his summer. This is not how I wanted summer to end for him, for us.
Two and a half weeks ago he started with a high fever, then swollen glands and a rash, and then the diagnosis:
What? He’s only ten. Isn’t that for high schoolers and college students?
He has borne this struggle well, and I am proud of him. We have changed plans numerous times and canceled hang out times with friends. He’s endured doctor’s visits and bloodwork and has courageously faced whatever he needed to do. He’s missed a lot these past few weeks, giving up much of our summer fun to sleep 16 hours a day, and though disappointment was always evident in his features, he has taken deep breaths and accepted his lot.
Then it happens.
He sits next to me on the porch swing and says softly, “It makes me realize how it must have been for you, Mom.”
I look at him, a bit taken aback, “What do you mean?”
“Being sick. Not going places. Having to say, ‘no’ all the time. It must have been really hard for you.” He leans his head against my shoulder. “I’m sorry,” he whispers, “I’m sorry it’s all just been so hard for you. I’m sorry I didn’t understand.” I wipe at the tears now streaming down my face.
I can feel his grin. “You’re crying again, aren’t you?” So I punch his arm playfully, and we laugh together until he says gently, “It’s okay. I don’t mind if you cry. I’m used to it.”
Oh, that boy!
We’ve had a lot of conversations these past few weeks as we’ve been home together, just the two of us. He isn’t afraid to ask questions, and I’ve shared story after story with him about life. He laughs and puzzles and at one point he shook his head, “People are really hard to understand sometimes, aren’t they, Mom?”
Ha. That’s the understatement of the century, isn’t it? But by just acknowledging the question, he’s opened up another door to the language of grace–learning that people aren’t always like us, nor do they have to be.
I have seen how much of the boy is still in him. He’s needed me to be with him, to snuggle him, to squeeze his hand and encourage him when the needle sticks were deep, to care for him and help him feel better.
But I’ve seen that there is man in there, too. The man he is growing into… thoughtful, kind, and secure with a heart of gold.
He amazes me–the strength of his will yet the gentleness of his heart.
I look at him.
And I see him.
Boy and man… and I am overjoyed with what I see.
Thank you, Lord, for my Buddy, the first of our three miracles. Thank you for long conversations and porch swings flying high. Thank you for patience under trial and for learning the language of grace together. Thank you for healing and for growth (for both of us). And thank you for the boy he is… and the man he is becoming.
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