March 4, 2009
His loud wailing sobs broke into the serene morning. Our mornings are peaceful. Always. (Usually.) Right now it isn’t quiet. The sobs are echoing through the entire house — bouncing off of the floor; binging off of the walls; filling the house. In my mind I growl my five year old’s name. Certainly she did something to break the peace. I finish hugging my oldest daughter and head downstairs. “What’s wrong?” I ask over the wails, step-step-stepping down the stairs.
“It’s Sam. He’s upset at you,” the five year old accuses.
“At me? Are you sure he’s not upset at you?”
Big sigh. Hands on hips. Eye roll. (Is she really five and not fifteen?) “No, Mom, you’re the one who drank all the tea and didn’t leave any for him.”
I turn the corner and am met full force with the most recent and desperate wail. I suppress a giggle, for the picture in front of me truly tickles me. Standing in the center of the kitchen is a small boy, holding an empty tea cup, head back, face vibrant red, mouth wide, tears dripping all around him. Howling.
“What’s the matter?” I manage to get out without cracking my voice.
A series of gasps. A failed attempt at composure. The tea cup held high in an accusation, “Y-y-you d-d-d-d-drank the TTTTT-EEEEEEE-AAAA!” and the wails commence again.
“It’s okay, pull yourself together,” I attempt to reason with a three year old, “That’s not today’s cup. I left today’s tea by the door.”
The wails stop. The beet-red face looks at me, watery blue eyes wide.
“Let me get it for you,” and I head for the tea cup by the front door. Earlier in my haste, I forgot to put it on the counter. Each morning, I leave the last sip just for him.
He plucks it out of my hand and chugs the unusually large amount that is left. Licking his lips, he smiles at me, eyes sparkling and says, “Thanks Mom. That sure is tasty!”
Then he heads to the door for shoes and coat. Disaster diverted. Lesson registered: It is the little things we do for one another that make the biggest impact. Little things, like leaving a sip of tea, show our love in lasting, concrete ways. And I'm left with the question: How else do I show my children that I love them?