Thursday, May 06, 2010


Sitting in karate yesterday watching our monsters spar against those poor unsuspecting children. Cringing every single time my squirrely boy straps on his gloves and helmet and comes out a-swingin', but ever so grateful for his opponent's padding. When suddenly the woman next to me, whom I'd never seen before, leaned over and asked me if I was Santiago's mom.

"Yes," I said, grinning, already expecting her to say something about his firecracker, ants-in-the-pants ways.

When she proceeds to ask with a kind of dreamy smile, "Is he always so happy-go-lucky?"

And I was just floored.

"I wish my son were more like yours," she said, casting her eyes to the floor. "Nathan just gets into these grumpy moods," she went on, slowing shaking her head. "He just doesn't smile enough, you know? He's too young not to be smiling. But every time I've ever seen your boy, he's laughing and smiling and joking around."

And I just stared at her. Unable to say a word.

"He's always got such a unique perspective when the instructors ask questions. He makes everyone think. He never sees things the same ways the other kids do. He must be such a joy to be around."

My mouth agape, I felt immediately awash in shame.

That she was absolutely right. That what I keep trying to squelch and quiet and control for fear of him being distracting to other kids, or derailing lessons, or not fully recognizing and respecting rules and guidelines and expectations are actually just his way of living life in the moment, of finding the fun and laughter and frivolity in every hour of every day, of letting things just slide off his back and not change who he is at his core.

My God, I can think of a million times I wish I had had even a tenth of that ability.

And no, it doesn't mean he's suddenly gonna get away with murder 'round here, but it does mean that maybe I could stand to take a step back to value and appreciate and perhaps even learn a thing or two from my joy-filled, happy hearted, infectious laughter inducing boy.


Diana said...

You can't imagine how many tears I've shed over this very thing. People crave for, pay for, pop pills for, and try to fake this kind of joy for life. And how much of my little guy's life have I spent trying to calm him down. Instead of "Cheer Up!" we (only half-) kiddingly tell him to "Grim Up!" because his irrepressible exuberance keeps getting him on the wrong side of the law in his 10 year old world.

JO ANNA GUERRA (of The Adventures of Saia and Chago) said...

Nope, nope, nope! There's no stopping that boy's bubble!! He's perfect. Just the way he is. The 7-figure salary he'll be making when he's 23 doing exactly what he loves will be proof-positive of just that.