July 14, 2010
My girls (and their cousins) have been taking swimming lessons for the last two weeks. It meets every day at the City Pool. Bridget is in a class with a handful of other children who also have to wait for older siblings’ classes to finish before they leave. So she has struck up some friendships to help pass the time while she waits.
(As an aside, Bridget gets along really well with boys. She is a feminine little girl who likes to wear dresses and have long hair, but she really loves playing with boys. She likes running and chasing and stuff boys are in to, like dinosaurs, dragons, guns, destruction, and Legos. And boys seem to accept her into their play zones pretty eagerly.)
So she has made friends, this week and last, with a little boy. The two of them spread their towels on the hot cement after they get out of the pool, and lie basking in the sun to warm up and dry off. Then they run off to climb trees and roll around the grass. I started interacting a bit with this little boy, and in the course of talking with him, something clicked together in my head, and I realized I knew who he was. He was one of the sons of a distant “sister of a friend of a friend” who died maybe three years ago. I didn’t come right out and ask him if his mother died a few years ago, but I put the pieces together.
Once I realized this, something shifted in my heart toward this boy. He is super-cute, tall for his age, with a little gravely voice. Very expressive, but with a cool, “I have two older brothers” sort of an attitude. He would talk to Bridget and me and another friend and her son very eagerly and confidently. His babysitter constantly kicks back in her chair, talking on her cell phone or sending text messages, looking bored, like most of us mothers there. But this woman isn’t his mother. He doesn’t have a mother anymore.
I know his grandmother from years ago at church, and I know his aunt. They are both wonderful women. He has great family around, whom I’m sure shower him with lots of love and attention. But he doesn’t have a mom.
At one point today, he needed some help getting out of tree. I reached up to help him down, and he accepted the strength of my arms (strong enough at least to help a 40 pound kid hop out of tree) easily. But as I reached up and my hands touched his bare little boy waist, a little ache went through my heart. He doesn’t have a mother to hold and hug him.
I know God in His infinite mercy has a special place in His heart for orphans and others who have had loss of family. He sets the lonely in homes. And this boy has a home; with a dad whom I have never met but who I’m sure is doing the best he can under the circumstances.
It’s put a little different feeling into the job I have (very full time right now, with the kids all home for the summer.) I may be crabby. I know I’m not perfect. But at the end of the day, my kids go to bed knowing they have a mom that loves them. I hope this little extra awareness of the fragility of life gives me strength to do my best and enjoy each day.