Thursday, January 2, 2014

Stockings and Tears

Last month as we were decorating for Christmas, our 8 1/2 year old gave me a precious glimpse into his heart.  Kathy, my mother-in-law and Bryan's step-mom, handmade Caleb, Joel, and Anna's stockings.  Eliza's will be next.  Caleb's stocking is of a large snowman hugging a smaller teddybear.  The stockings were newly up on the fireplace, and Caleb came up to me with something he clearly wanted to share.

Caleb: "Mom, something about my stocking is SO familiar to me."

Me: "You mean other than that you see it every year at Christmas time?"

Caleb:  "Yes.  Something about it really moves me."

Me: "Hmmm….is it something you experienced, something you saw, or something in your heart that's familiar?"

Caleb: "I think it's something in my heart."

At this point, I look over at Caleb and see his eyes welling up with tears.  I put down the things I was working on in the kitchen, and walk over to him.

Me: "I can see it's making you sad."

Caleb: "No, Mom.  They're happy tears."

I grab Caleb's hand, and we walk in to the living room and sit on the couch where we can see the stockings.  I pull him into my lap.

Me: "Do you think you're the snowman or the teddybear?"

Caleb: "I really think I'm the snowman."

Since the snowman is the bigger of the two, I start to wonder if perhaps Caleb is thinking of Samuel.  Samuel has been on his mind quite a bit lately, and he's shed a lot of tears for his baby brother in the last few months.  I don't want to plant that idea in Caleb's mind, so ask: "Is it you with one of your siblings?"

Caleb: "No, I don't think so."

Me: "Is it you and Puppy?"  (Puppy is Caleb special stuffed animal.)

Caleb: "That's what I thought at first, but I really don't think that's it."

Me: "Hmmmm….."

Now Caleb's tears spill over and stream down his face.  With more tears pouring and his voice cracking, he tells me: "Mom!  I know what it is!  It's me with my future children! That's me when I'm a dad!"

I am speechless.  Seriously?  What 8 year old cries (I mean really cries!) happy tears when he envisions being a dad someday?!  I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't there witnessing it.  The only thing I can do, because now I'm somewhere between a sob and a disbelieving guffaw, is pull Caleb in tight and wrap my arms around him.  This kid's tender heart is something else.  I cannot believe I've been entrusted with its care in his childhood.  My, what a gift this kid is!

Caleb's stocking is the 3rd from the left.