Monday, March 30, 2009

Flowers For Sale

It started off with a reasonable question. I went outside to tell Calvin it was time to come in for dinner. There he was, sitting on the swingset ladder, staring off into space. The stomp rocket launcher he had bought Hobbes for a birthday present was there, but there were no rockets to be found.

"Calvin, where are the rockets to Hobbes' stomp rocket? We need to pick it up and go in for dinner."

"I don't know."

"What do you mean? Where did they land last time they were shot?"

"I don't know."

"Ok, well, who was shooting them?" (The neighbors had been playing, too.)

"I don't know."

"What do you mean 'You don't know'? Weren't you there when they were shot?"


"Who shot them? Did they get lost? Do we need to go look for them?"

"I don't know."

Temper rising, "Calvin, did you shoot them? Where did they go ?!?"

"I don't remember."

"I think you do remember. It was just a few minutes ago. Why won't you tell me what happened? Are you lying to me? Why won't you tell me anything? Help me find the rockets, now!"

And so it went, on and on and on...we did manage to find one rocket after he finally told me that maybe he shot it and maybe it went over the trees into the neighbor's yard. And I was pretty certain that he was lying to me about the whole thing, for some reason. He finally confessed that he "thought" he had shot the rockets, but that he didn't know which direction they went.

It was a bad moment for both of us. Really bad. He kept evading my questions and partially lying to me about shooting the rockets, even though I told him it wasn't a big deal and that we just needed to look for them. I don't know why he was being so vague, except perhaps that he was afraid of getting in trouble. My temper rose, I accused him of lying about not knowing which direction they went. He got angry about being asked over and over and over. I told him he would have to earn the money to buy Hobbes some new rockets. He stayed outside, saying he needed to think of a plan to solve the problem. I went inside, hurt that he would lie to me. Angry that he was being so frustrating. Completely wrapped up in my own emotions and unwilling to believe anything other than what I thought had happened.

"Mommy, I have a plan to earn money to buy more rockets for Hobbes." He appears with two fists full of flowers plucked from our backyard jungle.

"What is it?"

"Wait...I need to go outside and remember."

He leaves and returns a few seconds later. "I remembered. I can sell these flowers on the side of the road and make money to buy new rockets. Isn't that a good idea?"

My heart breaks, "Yes, sweetheart, you could do that."

"Okay, let me get organized"

My heart breaks a little more as he sets to work.

"Mommy, how do you spell flowers?...There. Will that work?"

I turn to see the homemade sign. To him it is just a resourceful idea, a marketing tool, a way to make amends with his brother. To me? It's a sign of my brokenness.

Sometimes I make such big mistakes. Maybe he was just too distracted, just living so much in his mind, as he often is. Maybe he really did forget who shot those rockets and where they went. Maybe I should try to build trust and not break it. The least I could do was take the flowers and put them on the dining room table for dinner. A symbol of the beauty in him, in me, even when we make a mess of things.


Farrah said...

Oh wow.. you have no idea how much I needed to read this tonight. I have been working on a post with a VERY similar theme but could never have said it quite so eloquently as you have.
It is a very humbling moment for me when I realize that what I am interpreting as very bad behavior is more often him being a little boy and my frustration and fatigue making judgements on him. I get so frustrated and emotional when he doesn't act like I want him to and I wonder why does he get so worked up about things. Then I look at myself and I realize he gets it from me. I have done this to him.
That is when I ask him for forgiveness and hope that moments like that will stick with him too. Maybe he'll learn that his Mama makes mistakes too and doesn't always behave the way I should. But when I mess up, God forgives me and I need His help to move on.
I am sure Calvin sees that in you too. :)

wheelsonthebus said...

i understand your feelings, but there is nothing wrong with him learning that he needs to be responsible with his brother's things.