On Saturday we took Christmas off the shelves and walls, its wreath off the door, and the star came down from the top of the tree. I know some people are saddened by the sparseness of their homes without the shining holiday glitter, but I always feel clean and new when my house gets back to normal.
After the de-christmasing, the whole family climbed into the car and we headed to the YMCA. Mr. Fantastic and I worked out, then we all played basketball in the gym.
Boy 3 played to win, but he lost. Thar's never easy when you're seven years old. He stormed over to the water fountain to cool off. Then he brought his sobbing, sweaty mess over to me, because I'm his mama, and mamas make everything better. At first I thought he was just mad, but I was wrong.
In between sobs he gasped out, "I...can't...get...a breath..." It appeared he was having some sort of asthma attack, probably as a result of running hard and then crying hard.
He slumped down against the wall of the gym. I tried to get him to sit up, and asked him to calm down and to slow his breaths. He growled at me and slumped over to the other side, hitting his head on an electrical outlet box.
Blood ran down his neck and over his ear.
We rushed to the bathroom, stopped the bleeding and got him to calm down a little. Mr. Fantastic went to find some first aid help, and my third son and I sat in the bathroom waiting.
"This is all your fault," he proclaimed, wincing a little as I held a paper towel to his head. "Why would't you just let me lie down?"
All. My. Fault.
This is a mama's worse fear, isn't it? To try to help her child, doing what she knows is most loving and necessary in the moment- then to have it fall to pieces, and the blame placed solely on her shoulders.
I'm guessing that since this isn't the first time this has happened with one of my children, it won't be the last either.
I wouldn't change anything I did, except of course moving him away from that electrical outlet box. We spoke about it, and I tried to explain why I had wanted him to sit up, but it's unclear how much he really understands. Seven year-old boys can be resistant to logical reasoning.
This is where the path motherhood leads, to the task of cleaning up and reorganizing the mess after all the fun and all the fights, after the happy holiday-like moments and after the hard days of bitter reality. Like de-christmasing the house, it can be a little saddening. But it is also invigorating to lead a child to grace, to fresh starts and new mercies from heaven.
I sang a lullaby and kissed Boy 3 goodnight at the end of the day. There is more love in my heart for this brave and stubborn boy than there is water in the ocean. He is fire and ice, flame and light, his soul is a grand display of God's creative genius.
I am compelled to reach my hand into his icy, unpredictable fire and grasp this beautiful thing called love. It can all be my fault if he will let sit here at the edge of his bed and sing of my love for him, then smile with a cocky grin and tell me he loves me.
I don't mind the mess so long as love wins in the end....