Sometimes I think I'm not going to be able to handle this anymore, this life, these huge responsibilities, these unending struggles.
Sometimes I think, god, what a drama queen, things aren't so bad.
Other times I think how is it possible I'm so blessed, look at the sky and at my family's beautiful faces and insides and wow, every day is a gift.
Yesterday Elijah got off the bus with a scowl on his face and red eyes. He didn't say anything on our walk home. He handed his book bag to me as he usually did but didn't laugh when I put it on my back, obviously too small for me. He didn't "Aw Mom! Stop!" when I ruffled his hair and told him how much I missed him during the day. Obviously something was bugging him.
We got into the house and he sat down at the table and started to get his homework out. He got a pencil and started at it without my prodding and pressing him to start. Under different circumstances I would have been pleased. But I knew something was wrong. I felt myself hoping that it was something trivial and not serious.
I had been really excited for him to come home from school and had a small plate of chocolate covered pretzels and a glass of cashew milk sitting in the fridge chilling for him to snack on while doing his homework. While he was writing and thinking I brought it out and put it in front of him. His eyes met mine finally and tears streamed down his freckled cheeks, red rims around his beautiful hazel eyes.
"Oh MOM!" He sobbed. I held him and after a few minutes he pushed me from him. Too tough for me.
"What's going on Lijah? Did something happen in school?" I sat close to him, preparing myself for something wretched.
"I am the hungry caterpillar PROP for the end of school musical! I was THE Little Elf for the Christmas one but I'm just a PROP for this one. And I told her I wanted to be a puppy or a cat and she made me a PROP. That's not what I want to be." He looked at me now with less grief and more anger. I sifted through my parental options here. One the far end of the spectrum, one that I barely considered was calling his teacher and telling her how he felt about having a different part in the musical. I decided against that almost immediately.
I decided to go with this approach, "Well baby, the teacher picked you for the biggest part in the Christmas play so she probably wanted to give someone else a chance to have a bigger role in this musical. You'll still have fun being the Caterpillar."
He wasn't biting. "But I'm not even the Caterpillar because I don't have ANY LINES."
"It will be OK Lijah. There will be a ton of other plays you'll be in and someday you'll try out for them and be able to pick your parts! Right now the teacher is just trying to make everything fair for everyone." I'm trying here, folks.
He seems to get it a little bit. Gets out of his grump mood and finally lifts his head, becomes aware of his surroundings, scowl leaves his face, deep wrinkles leave his brow. "Thanks Momma. I love chocolate pretzels."
"I love you Elijah."
"I love you more Mom."
So in those moments everything was OK, the clouds parted and the sun warmed our hearts and put our minds at ease.
Are these moments enough for me or you or anyone? Can they sustain us through the rest of our days?
I hope so.