Last night, my 9yo son gave me a “drawing”. It was really a piece of copy paper and on it he had written:
where F’ = f
(this is the fundamental theorem of calculus–which he is fascinated with, but no–he does not yet “do” calc 😉 ).
Usually, it is not the 9yo boy bringing me drawings. It is the 4yo girl that brings them to me… in droves… as well as necklaces and paintings and “betend” food to eat, etc. I noticed for a long time that I would graciously receive each thing she brought me, “eat” where necessary, and respond with how wonderful it made me feel. But she often ended with:
“You can keep it!”
It took me aback at first. Of course I would keep it! Did she think I wouldn’t? And that thought saddened me. Poor lovey. So I started beating her to the punch and when she’d bring me something I’d look at her and excitedly ask “Can I keep it?!” She practically glowed. And I make sure to do that no matter how much I’m cursing the build up of papers on my ottoman as I try to work because… DUH!… the papers on my ottoman aren’t quite as important as a little girl’s self-esteem and belief that her mama loves her for what she has to offer.
Thankfully, this has been going on for a while. So I was prepared for my 9yo. He handed me the “picture” and I was a little surprised. I asked where he learned about this and the conversation wasn’t quite as encouraging or excited as I made sure to make for my 4yo.
I don’t recall what my son said, but it occurred to me that he needed that validation of my love, too. Quickly, I asked him “Can I keep this?” I thought he would laugh at me and tell me I was silly, but instead–his face fully lit up. We’d had the worst. weekend. ever. I mean seriously–really bad (I’m so NOT proud of myself right now). But he was really happy in a way I hadn’t seen his face in a really long time (and I hid my mental pause of sadness over this :/ ). He jumped off of his bed and as we were leaving his room together, he went to hold my hand (YAY!) and chattered on that if I were to ever move or something, I could take it with me then, too.
The next time someone offers up something to you… ask them if you can keep it. Even if it’s horrible or you have a million of them. Even if they laugh and say that you’re just being silly. Send someone a message that you treasure them for the things they have to offer. It may just transform a relationship for life.