Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kids, and the Power They Don't Even Know That They Have

Two events in the last two days have driven home to me the emotional power that your kids end up having that they do not even understand.

Yesterday morning, while waiting for my mother-in-law to pick up the boys, I noticed that Heir No. One seemed a little down. I asked "What's wrong, E? You seem a little upset."
"OK. You just are a little happier in the morning, so I thought maybe something was bothering you."
A long pause, then "Dad?"
"I miss Grandpa." "Grandpa" is my Dad, who died two and half years ago, and Heir No. One didn't know him that well. The last time he saw my Dad was when Dad was in the hospital, and it wasn't a long or meaningful visit.

"Why is that, sir?"
"Well, because he was your Dad."
"That's true."
"Was he a nice Dad?"
"Not always, but Dad's can't always be nice."
"Did he believe in Jesus?"
"Well, that's a complicated question. He knew about him, but your Grandpa and I never discussed much what he believed."
*sounding very disappointed* "That means he didn't go to Heaven."
Thanks kid, for kicking one of my own personal sore spots. I think I was the only one understanding the full impact of having his memorial service in a church, and how it was the first time in decades that he crossed the threshold for any type of service there.
Heir No. One was visibly upset, and I knew I had to turn this now if we were going to salvage his day.
"I told you that Grandpa never discussed it with me. That means you and I don't know what he believed. I'm quite sure that my Grandpa and my Aunt discussed it with him before he died. I don't want you to worry about it." No point in letting him carry baggage I don't even want.

Then this morning, I took Heir No. Two to his follow-up hearing test and appointment. Before the tubes were put in his ears a year ago, I held him as the audiologist ran through the test to establish what he was and was not hearing. I was absolutely crushed when it was evident that several tones that I could hear plain as day, he wasn't hearing at all. After the tubes were installed, he clearly was hearing better, and has continued to talk more and more, and we can even recognize some of what he has to say. This morning, even though he was REALLY grumpy and clearly did not want to be there, it was equally clear that he hear those tones today. I cannot put into words the feeling of relief I felt when I saw this. Truly. I love these guys, and the emotions they bring on sometimes only make my life richer than I could have ever anticpated.

The bonus this morning? The doc is an Ohio State grad. It took both of us to hold Heir No. Two down so he could look in his ears. He laughed, and said "How many full-grown men does it take to hold a three year old down?" I laughed and said "It's OK. I know the University of Michigan is going to have an outstanding outside linebacker in about 17 years...(looking down at Heir No. Two) unless you go to that green and white school which shall remain nameless. In that case, you're disowned."

[And I said it with love, in case anyone took me took seriously.]