Thursday, February 26, 2015

Missed Opportunities

Our two big boys
“More God,” Oliver says as we sit eating lunch together.

“You want me to teach you more about God?,” I ask.

“Uh-huh,” he says, chewing on his sunbutter and jelly sandwich, his eyes wide and expectant.

Moments earlier, Oliver had told me he was sick, his hand clasped over his mouth. “Oliver needa bucket,” he said, his voiced strained.

“You don’t need a bucket,” I replied. “It’s time to eat lunch. Have you ever heard of the story The Boy Who Cried Wolf?”

We’re in the midst of the “Oliver do me-self” stage. We say one thing; he says the opposite. We tell him to do something and he finds a million things to delay his fate. And, he lies sometimes…a developmental (albeit sad) milestone.

Thus led to a conversation about lying as he finally sat down in his chair to eat lunch. “We don’t lie Oliver. God tells us not to and it’s not nice. What if mom told you she was going to buy you a new toy and then she never did buy you that toy? That would be a lie. You wouldn’t like that,” I said, trying to think of an example on the fly. “You shouldn’t tell me you’re sick if you really aren’t sick.”

“Uh-huh,” Oliver says, scrunching his face. And after a short pause: “More God?”

We sit and I explain more of the Ten Commandments, highlighting the ones that apply to him the most right now in his two year old life. No stealing, honoring your parents, remembering the Sabbath Day. I realize that part of the reason he’s asking so many questions is because he’s trying to delay the nap that inevitably comes after lunch.

And as Oliver and I sit in conversation, I think about our sweet eldest son, Elijah, and all the missed opportunities he’s had. I think about the questions he hasn’t been able to ask and the answers I didn’t think to give him. I think about the lies he hasn’t been able to tell and the missed opportunity to learn as a result. The guilt, oh, the guilt.

I wish Elijah could ask me a million annoying questions and I could exasperatedly answer him. How much of his disability is simply a result of missed opportunities: things he wasn’t able to see, textures he wasn’t able to touch, and questions he wasn’t able to ask?

More help, God. I can’t do this parenting thing on my own.


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