Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Superboy Speaks

Sometimes kids really do have superpowers.
Like the Saturday morning years ago when I stumbled into the kitchen, still in bedhead mode, my old bathrobe dragging the floor.
"Yey! Mommy's up!" Sam said, climbing down from the kitchen chair perch he'd pulled up next to the griddle. "Look what Daddy and I made you," he said, pointing at a mountain of pancakes. "Daddy said I could take your picture while you eat it. I'm going to do it all by myself."

"Just a sec, hon. Let me at least brush my hair first."

"Oh no!" Sam said, and threw his arms open wide, dramatically blocking the hall to the bedroom. "You have to stay just like that."

"But honey, Mommy's hair is all sticking up."

"I like it like that. It looks pretty. I like you in your pink robe on and your glasses all crookedy.

"Oh yeah?" I laughed and looked at my husband.

"Yes, Mommy, I'm serious. You look good. Don't move. I'm gonna take a picture."

I sighed, smoothing out my hair.

"Stop," he yelled from behind the camera. "You're messing it up." He held the camera steady but then put it down, smiling at me, as if as if trying to behold my bedheaded beauty.
"Mommy, I gotta tell you. You look HOT!"

Part of me wanted to grab that boy of mine and kiss all over his sweet baby face, and another part wanted to cancel cable and go back to PBS. And still another part of me was scratching my head that as much as I do to make myself look presentable (I don't do that much, really,) the child preferred me with no make up, my hair in Whoville mode, stumbling through the kitchen.
I've savored the sweetness for years now.

I guess my my tee shirt, bathrobe, and bad case of bedhead signaled to Sammy that I wasn't going anywhere. I was still dressed for snuggling, for lazing over a breakfast of syrup coated carbohydrates, for reading books and talking. I was clearly not ready to race out the door and strap him into the minivan for soccer or church, and I wasn't just hanging around the house, waiting for someone to ring the doorbell. My rumply hair meant that nothing was on the calendar except being with my family, for listening to whatever the boy and his siblings and his daddy had to say. For looking in Sam's eyes and eating his pancakes. And for posing for a picture that the blogosphere will never ever see.

Over the years I've replayed this memory countless times. I can't seem to let go of it, partly because it captures Sam's sweetness, and partly because it whispers something bigger to me.
I think of the way I run through life, not wanting to be slowed, and I'm sorry for the times that I wasn't present for others, in too much of a hurry to cross off my To Do list. Sometimes I'm the worst at this with my family, thinking they'll understand or that I can make it right later.

I think of the One I want to imitate, who always made time to really see the people around him, to be fully present, to touch them and give them time.
I'm so thankful for a God who is ever present to me, who sees me with my sticky-up hair and all my miserable imperfections and couldn't love me any more. Who wants to just BE with me. And I'm thankful for Superboy, who's great at reminding me of this very truth.

God, help me see the people around me and be fully present with them. Help me be ready to put aside my itinerary and be the loving presence of Christ for them.
Or maybe just be Mommy.

Do you ever struggle with being fully present with those around you? When is it the hardest? The easiest?

Have a wonder-full Wednesday, y'all!
Love, Becky


adrienne said...

Awesome picture, but I think you should have posted the other one! (I write this knowing I would never post that sort of picture of myself either...)

Lately I've been very tired of the race to cross things off the to-do list. I'm trying to spend more time enjoying right now.

lotusgirl said...

Isn't that the sweetest. Our kids have such a different idea of what is beautiful than the rest of the world. They love nothing better than when I hang around the house and do nothing but be with them. I like that, too. We do it whenever we can.

Mompriest said...

yes, sigh. It's hardest when I'm tired and it the end of a very long day and all I want is a quiet moment for an iced tea and dark chocolate....easiest? when someone schedules an appointment to talk to me LOL....geeze, or when I'm just calm and in no rush, as you say so well in this delightful story/memory.

Jenny said...

Oh, my. I have a lump in my throat. What a sweet boy you have in Sam and what a precious memory.

Heidi Mann said...

What is he in that photo -- about 5? He looks just about like my little guy (but don't let him hear anyone call him "little"!) -- and I think they even have the same kind of underwear!!!

I struggle ALL the time with being fully present to my kids -- often because I love my freelance work and want to do that and sort of (dare I say it?) resent the time I can't because there isn't adequate childcare available in the summer in our tiny town. So instead of having 6-8 hrs. of dedicated professional time and then a solid chunk of dedicated mom time, I feel like I'm always doing a half-job of each at the same time, and it's not fully satisfying. It all goes better during the school year than it is this particular summer. I can't wait for September!! (Ha! Remember when we dreaded the start of school again as kids? Fortunately, my 5-year-old does also look forward to the new school year.)

Thanks, as always, Becky!

Daisy said...

I love it when our kids love us so unconditionally. It truly is a reminder of the right outlook on life.

lynnmosher said...

Rebecca, I love reading stories like this. I just sigh in remembrance. My "kids" are now 41, 37, and 34. I have photos of the boys dressed in similar mode running through the backyard. I am surprised sweet Sam let you use that photo! LOL Unless, of course, he doesn't know! Thanks for sparking the memories! Bless you!

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Precious. I love the image of you with bed hair and what that represented to your son. And yes, I have a tough time of it. I think being at home as often as I have been sometimes makes it harder, and writing from home. Like you said, there's a self-deception going on that there will be time later. It haunts me to think that these years might go quickly by and I'll still be wondering where that time I thought I'd get went. Thanks for the reminder to be more present. :)

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

Today! Today I just felt like I could not be present in the present.

What a good reminder to stop agonizing over the 5 pounds I gained in NYC and just live.

Jeff Rogers said...

Beautiful, Whohair and all, as the signal that you weren't going anywhere. Great take!

One of the wisest things I've ever read was the observation that the reason we often don't sense God's being present in any given moment is because WE'RE not present in most moments.

You've nailed it: being present is the best gift we can give our children; after all, it's the best gift God gives us.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Love your comments, friends. The internet went out right after I posted this and stayed out all day, doing who knows what. How nice to wake up this morning and find y'all here, being so honest about your own struggles of being present.

A few thoughts in reply...
Heidi, I completely relate to what you've said. Being half mom and half writer all at the same time can be so frustrating. I've felt that same resentfulness and the guilt that comes from it. It's not a good feeling. But we do the best
we can. I'm hoping that my kids will remember how hard I tried to meet the needs of both.

Lynn, believe it or not Sam did say yes to the photo! I was surprised, but I think he sees his five year old self as kind of cute. I do too!

Wow, Jeff.
"the reason we often don't sense God's being present in any given moment is because WE'RE not present in most moments."
That's stunning. Thanks!

Rebecca Ramsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly H-Y said...

Always! I LOVE your story ... what a sweet boy. I was just sharing with a friend the other day that - when I worked full time in the corporate world and took a day off, I would be fully present for the kids ... we'd just play. Now that I work part-time and from home, my days off are filled with the filling that I need to get more work done and I don't have time to play. It's strange ... and something I definitely have to work on.

Kelly H-Y said...

Uhhhh, that would be 'the feeling'... not 'the filling'! Goodness ... I was proofreading as I hit 'publish your comment' ... not a good plan! :-)

Anonymous said...

It reminds me that often what we think we need to bring to others is not what they actually need, reminds me to stop and listen.

Jenn Hubbard