People who see me in action with Matthew will often comment, “well, he sure keeps you on your toes.” Greg and I are always anticipating his next, unexpected move. Sometimes it’s an amusing move, like the time in church at the end of the service when he ran up to the pulpit to wish everyone a “happy Sunday” on the microphone. Other times, it’s a dangerous move, like the time we were in a rental car and had only activated “child lock” on his door, but not on Kathryn’s. Lesson learned. He reached across Kathryn, manually unlocked her door and then opened her door while we were driving on a highway. Thank God no one got hurt. It took me months to get over that moment.
|For those of you who have never had to use it, "Child Lock" is found inside the car door and can be activated by pushing down this little switch. Every car has it on the back car doors.|
Matthew was invited to a family friend’s movie-themed birthday party last year, and we went together for about an hour of it. All of the kids sat on bean bag chairs, eating popcorn while watching the movie. I stood in my “ready stance” to the side of the TV and DVD player. I know my boy, and when he sees a button, he is going to push it – it’s only a matter of time. I was impressed that he waited about 20 minutes into the movie before darting to the DVD player to attempt his attack on pushing the DVD player’s various buttons. I like to think that my time as a high school athlete helped develop my quick reflexes to defend the DVD buttons in the nick of time. Crisis averted, the movie played on!
|Yup, I had skills back in the 80's!|
I look at other kids his age and am jealous for a moment. Jealous that their parents don’t have to strategically plan where they sit in church so their child won’t reach the pulpit microphone before they can catch them. Jealous that their child understands the basics of car safety and won’t try to open a door in a moving car. Jealous that their child will sit through an entire movie without trying to push the buttons on the DVD player to examine the cause and effect of that action. Jealous that they can sit and relax and not have to anticipate the unexpected in each moment they spend with their child. Keeping on your toes is exhausting. Take it from me.
In these moments, I know I am not graceful in my thoughts or my movements. I am tripping over my own two feet after deflecting his reach for the DVD player. I am hyperventilating after realizing the dangers that we avoided in the car. I am not graceful. I am clumsy. I yell, I scream, I cry, and I learn. I listen, I observe, I hope, and I pray. I will continue to trip over my own two feet as I wait for Matthew’s next unexpected move. I am not moving gracefully, but I am given grace. The term, grace can be interpreted in many ways by different people. The definition I relate to calls grace a gift.** I have been given this gift. The gift of Matthew. Life gives us plenty of unexpected moments. Thank you, Matty, for keeping me on my toes.
|On the microphone at church, wishing everyone a "Happy Sunday"!|
As I was finishing my edits on this piece, Greg told me he and Matthew were at CVS this evening – he turned his back for one moment and turned around to find Matthew at the MoneyGram machine – he was about to wire money using Greg’s phone number to someone in Belarus. Seriously, you can’t anticipate that move!
** Thank you, Dad, for helping me out with your "word geek skills"!