Only you can be you.…if you don’t make your unique contribution….it won’t be made.” –Rick Warren; The Purpose Driven Life
I’m having an upside down day. One that takes a little more to get through than I am finding in myself to give.
“Look, Mom!” Jordan told me pointing at a coloring sheet. “It’s Elmo’s phone number! Sesame Street dot org and Sesame Street dot com.”
I smiled at his informative tone.
“Mom,” he continued, “I feel ‘licorice-y and poplar-ishy’”
I raised my eyebrows, uncertain at what he was trying to tell me. He could tell I needed interpretation.
“Like licorice and lollipops,” he explained.
“Oh,” I replied as if it was all making sense now. “And how does that feel?”
“It feels like you are eating a lollipop,” he said. “It feels good.”
I nodded with a grin.
Only Jordan would come up with that. Only Jordan can be Jordan.
I asked my kids what they wanted for breakfast and Madelynn announced, “Candy!” She had a few extra treats visiting her great grandparents this past weekend.
With eyes that look like lemon-drops, she added, “That’s an idea, Mom!”
“Oh, yes, Miss Maddi,” I responded. “That certainly is an idea!”
Only Madelynn can be Madelynn.
We had popcorn for breakfast. My kids definitely know how to negotiate. After all the talk about candy, popcorn sounded like an amazingly better option. I know I fell for the trick.
Later in the day we were driving home from preschool when Jordan
started talking out the window in a soft voice, but not quite a whisper.
“Why did you die?” he asked. “Oh, a car killed you?”
“You talking to God, Jo-dan?” Madelynn asked looking at her brother (she can’t pronounce the letter “r” yet.)
Jordan replied, “No, I’m talking to my dad.”
Then he continued, “I’m gonna burp!” And feigned what sounded more
like a coarse cough, laughing with pure amusement, while making eye contact with both me and his sister to see if we found the joke equally amusing.
Returning to look out the window, his laugh unceasing, Jordan asked, “Dad—did that
make you laugh?”
I was working to watch both him and the road at the same time when our eyes met again and he declared, “Mom, Dad said that was funny!”
I chuckled, knowing that Shawn would certainly find his son humorous. Interesting how Shawn could still mold his son after death.
Madelynn looked at her brother wanting to be a part of the interaction and said, “Me have to tell my dad something.”
“Okay,” Jordan responded, which was all she needed for permission.
“Why you killed?” Madelynn asked while looking straight ahead at the head
rest on my driver’s seat in front of her. Her voice was tender and
Apparently unaware that her conversation was one-sided, she continued
speaking, adding short pauses as if she were pretending to be on the
telephone, “Oh—you killed? Someone shot you? A car? Oh—okay, Daddy. I love
you. Goodbye. Goodnight, Daddy.”
Looking at her backwards through the mirror seemed almost like looking
at her upside down. It was similar to the way I had been feeling since we woke up. It’s hard to admit the highlight of our day is a conversation
with someone who can never answer.
When we got home, Jordan asked to make pancakes. He stirred the batter
while I made scrambled eggs. Maybe flip-flopping breakfast before
bedtime would put the day back in order. Eager to try anything that
could possibly help, I realized I was trying. I was trying to engage.
I was trying to be a mom. I was trying to be me.
Only Jennifer can be Jennifer.
Even at the end of an upside down day, I have something—I have myself.
At times this seems to be a very small piece. What I am learning is
that giving even a small piece of me is all I’m asked to do. A small offering can make a difference. If I opt not to give, then the day stays upside down. Sharing a part of me doesn’t guarantee the day to become right-side-up. But, it does help.