by Oceianna Fleiss
It’s Saturday. The day all good Americans clean their houses, right? Well, we’re not that great at it, but today, I really wanted to make it through the checklist.
So, first step was to assign everyone their jobs.
“Christian,” my husband told our preschooler, “clean the stairs so we can vacuum.” (At our house, little bits of paper, crayons, Legos, etc. pile up. Does this happen at yours too?)
He didn’t like that so much, but a few minutes later, his general whining grew to gnarly wails which escalated into deep, guttural, heart-wrenching waves of verbal sadness. I thought, Man, he really hates picking up that stuff. But just in case something else was wrong (like something that came close to warranting such crying), I went and checked on him.
His speech was so garbled through the heaving sobs, it took many attempts to understand.
"Okay Christian, you have to calm down enough to tell me."
Breathe. Breathe. Wipe his nose on his Star Wars t-shirt. Seems calm. "I...I..." Then he'd throw his arms around me and collapse into the wailing again.
Finally, after a few rounds of this, I deciphered the cause of my little Jedi’s devastation.
Someone threw away his Yoda coloring picture. Yes, that was the cause behind all of this.
When his sister walked by with the trash bag (her job is to empty the garbage), he saw it through the plastic liner. His beautiful, expertly colored Yoda with all three of the Master’s students posing around him. That’s right, Obi Wan, Luke, and that other guy, all in their lightsabered glory, were lodged alongside used envelopes, tissues and wrappers.
And the sobs continued ...
Being the good Jedi mom that I am, I pulled out all my skills to temper the pain:
“That’s not the picture you’re looking for…”
“Jedis know when to let go of the past.”
“Jedis feel their pain deeply, then move on.”
Nothing worked. What would Yoda do? (WWYD)
But then, a wiser, more compassionate young knight approached. My older son, Ben, little Christian’s brother. His hand was behind his back and he wore a grin.
“Hey, Christian-man. Look what I have.” From behind his back he brought forth a piece of paper. And there, in all it’s glory (barely even wrinkled) was the Yoda picture. The very one we thought was lost to the Dark Side of the trashcan forever.
Yes, it's true, out of unselfish love for his little brother, Ben dug through the trash. A solution perhaps less elaborate, but much more effective than all my Jedi mind tricks.
Christian’s sobs slowed to infrequent trembling and finally stopped, replaced by a smile. In a moment of brotherly love, Christian looked Ben in they eyes and said, “Thanks, you’re the best brother ever.” They hugged (boys do hug sometimes), then wrestled on the carpet until I told them to get back to work.
Somehow a new hope came over the day. A hope that sprang from a love strong enough to dig through the trash for a treasured Jedi picture. A hope that this parenting thing isn't so bad. In fact, it's pretty wonderful.