Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I can spell red.

The other day, I hear the familiar sing-songy voice of my little guy playing and singing in the living room. It's a new song. One he clearly learned at school. So I listened with a smile (and a burst of pride) as he sang:

"I can spell red! 
I can spell red! 
That spells red. 
That spells red."

 My smile widened to a grin followed by an eye-roll when the next verse began,

 "I can spell dinosaur! 
I can spell dinosaur! 
That spells dinosaur. 
That spells dinosaur." 

Clearly, while memorizing the tune and mastering the pattern of the song...he had missed the meaning entirely. He was singing words he didn't really understand. Words that sounded good and seemed correct at first- but were quickly disproven by the words that followed them just moments later.
He, in his innocence, was none the wiser. 
 And though I found pleasure in listening to him sing, and while I think his misapplication was quite cute -  I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a twinge of disappointment. For while he was spelling "red" he didn't know he was "spelling red"...so he wasn't really spelling red...(whoa...that was confusing).
But I wasn't upset.
Not only because he's 4 years old and has done much worse things to upset me. (lol)
But because I have faith. 
Because I know that one day he will learn to spell red and understand it.
I have the hope that one day he will spell "dinosaur" and "serendipity" and "Mississippi" (because I'll teach him that cool chant of course) and what he doesn't know how to spell he'll fix through spell check just like his momma.
I wasn't upset because I believe that as he grows, he will learn, and as he learns, he will gain knowledge, and with that knowledge, he can obtain wisdom.
I wasn't upset because he isn't the first person to say something in confidence and be wrong.
He isn't the first one to repeat a truth he doesn't understand at all.
He isn't the the first child to confuse, misinterpret or misuse a tool that was meant to foster learning.
And he won't be the last.
In fact, isn't that what we all do? 

Later that day, I couldn't help but smile again as I thought of myself. 
My own words.
My own sing-songy musings in my head of how things are, how life should happen, and how my life was going to be.
I can hear my teenage self planning my adulthood. 
Who I would marry and what my wedding would be like and how many children I would have.
I can hear my college self preparing for my classroom and all the adorable, obedient students I would teach. Oh they would just love school with me as their teacher!
(and yes...I realize my teenage self was jumping the gun quite a bit. 
But I'm not exaggerating. I had all my kids names picked out. 
And hair and eye color. My poor mother...)
 I can hear my newlywed self daydreaming about the day we would have a baby. What month we should get pregnant so as to coincide with spring break and summer vacation to ensure the most maternity leave. How I would decorate the nursery.
How she would look just like me but with dark curls instead of blonde.
I had it all figured out.
Every step of my life was in my control because it was my life.
And let me tell you, this philosophy was spot on.

I got everything I'd wanted!

I graduated with my teaching certificate and fully prepared to teach in any situation! I knew all the ins-and-outs of the education system because after all - it was all about teaching the kids right? I got a job at the first school I came to, was given a classroom full of geniuses who didn't even need me, and I just sat there and smiled at how perfect my classroom looked! It was a Mary Poppins-Frauline Maria experience. Not a shred of paper on the floor. Not a drop of water around the sink. And all new materials for my students. I never ran late, never had to yell, and had my own bathroom right across the hallway. I had a perfect outdoor wedding with not a drop of rain and married that super cute Senior boy who's name I won't mention because my husband would see it. We had 2 girls and a boy who all looked like me except for their beautiful dark hair, and my house was furnished like it was out of a magazine. A pottery barn magazine...but with an "anthropologie" twist. 
Poof. Planned. Perfect.

So maybe that's not all true.
In fact, starting halfway through the first sentence it was all pretty much fabricated.

I did become a teacher. 
Was it what I planned? Not really. Not at all actually. Instead, I was challenged and stretched everyday by students, parents, peers and the "*the powers that be." I ran late because I stopped all to often for my life-blood (Starbucks) and yelled in frustration on numerous occasions. I turned the lights off so often I probably saved the county thousands of dollars. There was always paper on the floor and the counter around the sink was never dry. 
And the bathroom...let's just say I got so used to holding it I sometimes forget how to pee.
But I loved it.
 I loved it with so much of my heart that I still get teary when I think about those kids I taught and the teachers I taught with.
I still miss them.
I still miss those days.
I thank God that I had them...and everything that came with them.
(*the powers that be : people in high places who make decisions about our schools and education and tell teachers who/what/when/why/how we should teach but have never actually been in the classroom)

I did get married.
Not to the Senior I spotted across the lunch room that freshman year and stalked for a good 6 months.
But to the boy in my homeroom who's mom taught "Family and Consumer Science" down the hallway. The boy who made everyone laugh. Who cared more about having fun than what he was wearing. (which btw was usually a polo shirt tucked into his khaki shorts paired with white socks and Birkenstocks.) The boy who wore a rain poncho and prescription goggles to his soccer practices and had only been to 2 stores at the mall when we started dating : JCPenney's and LensCrafters. I married the first "guy friend" I ever had. The first boy I ever kissed. My best friend. And on our wedding day it poured rain and thundered like Thor himself was going to spilt the sky.
Man he's hot. That Thor guy.
Have you seen the movie?
There's a new one coming out!!
Thank goodness he didn't show up at my wedding and cause me to have a "runaway bride moment!"
That could have been awkward...
oh. wait. I digress...and my husband is still reading this...
I love you honey... :)

We do have a house.
And it's just that - a house.
A house that is nothing without the people who live in it.
With furnishing that include my parents' couch, David's grandmother's kitchen table and a bedroom set from Big Lots.
Ah. Big Lots. You sweetly surprised me there.
You went above and beyond. Many thanks.
Do we have a lot of stuff?
Yes. Too much.
Was it all from a magazine?
No. I got real.
Do I love everything about it?
No. Thank heaven!
Because what a nightmare I would be setting myself up for if I did?! If you really love your "things"...you're in for a rude awakening someday. Things can be stolen. Things can break and fade and fall apart. Things can take over your house until you're so covered in things you're on a TLC show.
You can't take your things with you.
And some day...all those things is gonna burn! 
(cue haunting cackle)

I'm thankful for the things we have and the provisions we need.
But I could sell it all tomorrow. And someday I just might.
Then I could by a really nice camera...

Last but not least...we did have a baby.

A boy.

A boy who looked nothing like me at birth. Who in fact looked like a tiny cloning of my father-in-law. A boy whose future was threatened before he was even born and who exemplifies what the word miracle means to me.

A boy who melts my heart with his smile and can see my soul with his eyes.
A boy whose eyelashes are the envy of every girl and rivals that of the charmingly-moody guy that works at Starbucks  (you know who you are).

 A little boy whose spirit is incomparable and whose curls are just dark enough to make my dreams come true.

A little boy who is everything I didn't plan...and more perfect than I ever imagined.

So what do I mean by all this?

Just that in my son's little misunderstanding - I realized how mislead I myself at times have been. How often I am still mistaken as to what God has planned for me. In my 4 year old's "untruth" I saw the truth about my humanity. How I view things as "unfair" and interpret events to be "because of this" or feel confused at how my best laid plans have been crumpled up like a rough draft of a novel. Because that's the point. It's a novel I was never in charge of writing in the first place.
That job belongs to the Author and Perfecter.

And it's okay if I get it wrong. Mix things up. Speak in ignorance from time to time.

He will edit me.
He will teach me.
He will mold me into what He wants me to be.
It may not always be fun.
But it will be worth it.

And just like my son. I will learn.
With each new day,  Lord-willing,  I will learn a little bit more about the things I don't understand.
I will gain clarity in areas that used to be blurry and I will find enlightenment in areas I didn't even know were shadowed.

I don't know it all. And I never will. 

But I can spell red.

And I'm thinking... that's not a bad place to start.


Chelsea said...

You write so awesome! I look forward to every one of your posts.

Stefanie said...

absolute perfection

Nicole G said...

Thank you for your blog posts. You express many of my thoughts too, in such a lovely way. My son was born with SB in January this year. I think he looks a little bit like your son sometimes. Anyways, blessings to you and your family.

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