Friday, February 21, 2014

Socks, Sense & Subscriptions

A Word About Socks… 

“Hey, uh, Sam—are you sure about those socks?” my husband asked our middling child.  “Yep!” 
Well, honestly, that made me take notice, I opened my eyes wider because tea hasn’t been had yet, Sam’s socks are pulled all the way UP, to the knee.  It’s a statement all right.  

“You’re sure?” I ask.
“Yep!” grins, a little wickedly, I might add.

So this may seem strange to even mention, all kids go through phases, but for Sam, this is pretty momentous.  It wasn’t that long ago that this child was looking through the lens of the bystander, longing for fitting in and for someone, anyone, to be his friend.  To stand out, by fashion or any other convention would’ve been unheard of.  Just a few months ago, I posted this on my facebook page about him:

A brave (brief) history...

He brought me long scraps of paper this morning, torn carefully lengthwise from what I sensed was a tire ad. Names were written in pen, deliberately spaced on the blank spots. “What are these?” “Bookmarks for my class.” “But, Sam, they are strips of paper—they don’t look like bookmarks?” Sam started to cry. “B. brought bookmarks for everyone in the class yesterday.” I nod. “But I didn’t get one.” “Is B. your friend?” More tears, “yes.” “Did K. get a bookmark?” I ask, (K. is Sam’s friend in class.) Sam nods, more tears. “Oh, Sam, did everyone else get one?” “No.” “Well who else didn’t?” “I don’t remember, but I thought I could make some for everyone.” 

Does your heart hurt yet?  Mine does. 

My middle son Sam is probably the most sensitive child I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. Everything known or unknown hurts him horribly. It takes Sam a lot of courage to ask to play in a game, “Hi _____ can I play soccer too?” “No Sam, the game already started.” Most children would shrug it off; Sam moves to a corner outside, sits down and cries quietly so no one will hear. Sam is a watcher, and he’s painfully shy. He’s already been picked on, and he’s only 6. His teacher handled it appropriately and strategies, that Sam doesn’t remember, were discussed. In Sam’s world everything is very deliberate. He processes things literally. If something must be done, or a certain shirt worn, it just has to be that way. 

So his corresponding hurts are large and painful. I wish he could see how important he is, this sweet, shy, sensitive kid. “Sam,” I say, “you are…” “Spectacular,” he whispers. But this morning, he doesn’t believe it. All he knows is that he is not liked; in his mind, for some reason, other kids don’t want him to be their friend. Sam doesn’t get invited to birthday parties. He often plays by himself because it is hard for him to ask to join in a game, and he is often forgotten when careless invitations are thrown in the wind at recess. Do I think this was on purpose, this bookmark gone awol? No, I don’t. I think kids usually remember the other kids they play with, nothing more and nothing less. And I’ve told Sam that to make a friend, you’ve got to be a friend. Thus these homemade bookmarks and the tears, if, Sam reasons, he can bring B. and everyone a bookmark, he will show them he loves them and that he sees them. 

He is trying. He is trying. He is trying.  

John steps in saying, “Sam, this weekend, we’ll buy drawing paper and make really nice bookmarks for everyone.” Sam nods, pretty bravely, and goes to put on his shoes that he hasn’t learned to tie yet. Then I say, “Sam, come here, I want to give you something.” I go into my room and slip something out of a book. “Here,” I say, “can you read it to me?” It is a sturdy bookmark, with pressed native Wethersfield flowers on it, thickly laminated. It was a gift from my friends this past Christmas. “Friends are flowers in the garden of life.” “This is your special bookmark because you are very, very special Sam.” I wrote his name on the back and I remembered my devotional this morning, “The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God will have you put together and on your feet for good.” 1 Peter 5:10 (MSG). We all have hurt spots. All of us; acknowledging it, allows us to see it and once it is seen, it can be dealt with. “Will you take a picture of me with it Mommy?”

Go get ‘em Samshine.

who would've thought a bookmark can hold up a whole little person?

And flash to the present!

So yeah.  Yeah, this is big.  And awesome.  The reason for the turnaround?  A lifting up of confidence, and a generous, caring teacher who, when I notified about what I saw happening to him, immediately made time for a conference, began watching and as sure as I am writing this, began a program of assertiveness and conflict resolution in her classroom.  His steps became more sure.  There was more joking than quiet.  A party invitation came.  Sam is starting to show his rays. She believes in Sam.  I believe in Sam; now Sam believes in Sam.  Some days are better than others still, but we’re getting there.  And here’s the proof. 

hot legs--watch out!

And what’s more, the popular kids are getting on it.  How do I know?  Because his super cool, super smart, and super stylin’ older brother changed his socks this morning too.

"imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

 I have never been more happy about a '70s fashion resurgence in my whole life, (and that's even with the admittance that I have a fondness for huge sweatbands à la McEnroe and Richard Simmons, that sexy guy.) 

Hey, have tea with me!

Hey, and thank you, all of you, who are reading this and want to read more.  You make me feel giddy and lightheaded in all the right ways.  Like when you take a bite out of a piece of birthday cake, eat a strawberry ice on a really hot day--you’ve given me more than one “this is the best day ever” moment.  Thank you.  If you want my musings in your inbox, subscribe up at the right. 

My genius and amazingly talented friend, Karen Serrie, did all the gorgeous graphics for this blog and the comment section is now working, so comment away friends!  I'd love your feedback.  Cheers!

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Anonymous said...

That brought tears to my eyes. You go, Sam! Ben misses his friend and so do I. You inspire me. Awesome post. xo

sara said...

Thanks M. Sam misses Ben too. Much love.

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