Take Time for Ribbons!
By Denise Ritschel Craig
Zachary got off the bus with tear-filled eyes. Our 7-year-old, who never cries, had been struggling with something major. I asked him what was wrong. He said that his lollipop was broken to bits. Knowing that there must be more to the story, I probed deeper. "What else is wrong honey?"
He said, "When the principal handed out lollipops to the whole class, my lollipop was the only one without a ribbon."
"Oh honey," I said. "Aren't you glad that you spared another child from being the one without the ribbon?"
Realizing that this did absolutely nothing for his pain and that I was not seeing how much this hurt him, I asked him if there was anything else bothering him. He said that the day before, when the teacher was handing out treats, another child distracted her, and she completely forgot to give him one. Yet, he had said nothing.
My son's pain was completely real to him. Usually when my children get off the bus, we have chaos. My baby and a very grumpy and demanding 4-year-old are waking up from naps. My two elementary-age sons get off the bus wanting to tell me everything at the same time, foraging to find snacks and trying to do homework amidst everything else. Needless to say, I don’t usually get a chance to spend time with any of them right after school.
But today was different. Ben had no homework and went downstairs to play. Caleb woke up happy and followed Ben. And Anna kept sleeping. So I asked Zachary if I could put some ribbons on his lollipop. He said, "Sure Mommy! Oh, but could we make another lollipop out of pipe cleaners and then put ribbons all over that? Because I want to give it to my stuffed dog, Nanook."
"Of course sweetie.” So, we spent 10 minutes together fussing over pipe cleaners and ribbons. Then he wrapped his arms around me so tightly, and whispered, "Thank you, Mommy." He seemed at peace because I had taken time to feel his pain.
Denise Craig is a mommy to 4 children ages 10 to 2. She has served in several capacities in MOPS over the years. She is a vocalist by trade and is currently learning to homeschool.