My son is a builder. He loves forts, he loves Legos, he loves construction sites and he loves the game Jenga.
The other day he built this rocket in our kitchen. He carefully hauled in items from other rooms and assembled them into this missile. Although at first glance it may appear to be just a pile of blankets and balls, upon further review true artistry is revealed.
Two words: paper towel.
He worked on this masterpiece with the kind of precision, patience and thoughtfulness sure to impress both his Mom and Michelangelo. Every article was delicately placed, considered and confirmed with angst and a furrowed brow. And the working conditions were less than ideal with distractions including a meandering pug and some bulldozer twins.
Not only did my little rocket scientist construct this impressive warhead but he also overcame the important hurdle of “How to Protect the Rocket from The Brothers.” He wisely included a semicircle of chairs to prevent entry and the hope that entry would not be attempted on the unprotected side (unprotected due to (a) a lack of chairs and (b) a lack of faith in The Brothers’ aptitudes).
He was so proud.
And I was so proud to see him so proud and to see him delight in his own imagination and dedication to seeing something to completion.
It was a really sweet moment in which all of those wonderful characteristics that one yearns to see in a child—creativity, independence, diligence, pride, spirit—all converge together in one invaluable memory.
It was a really sweet moment in which I had a tiny window to his future and a little assurance that he’ll carry those same tools with him for the more important building opportunities down the road.
What a gift.
On a recent morning, I was engaged in my usual mom rigmarole involving a series of kid-centric activities. I piled my boys into and out of the car on an hourly basis (swim team practice, day camp, park, et cetera and blah blah blah).
In the span of about 3 hours, I covered much ground and variable terrain, including cement, asphalt, grass, tree, tree house, rock piles, park wood chips and water (ankle deep in a plastic pool, but water nevertheless). While the kids explored at warp speed, I gracefully followed close behind in heeled flip-flops.
I was feeling pretty accomplished and proud until I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. I noticed that one of my diamond earrings was missing.
Cue the pit in the stomach.
Those earrings hold a great deal of sentimental value. They represent a composite of a big anniversary, a big birthday, and a very big two-for-one birth.
I was really, really sad.
Especially when I recounted my morning and all of the places the earring could have dropped. The only thing that would have made this haystack a little bigger would have been a stop by the beach.
I called a friend who was still up at the pool and asked her to let the lifeguards know just in case anyone happened to find it.
As I hung up the phone, I knew the likelihood of it turning up was slim. And because I wear these earrings almost every single day, I had to admit that the chances of this happening weren’t outside the realm of reason.
But I told myself to hang on and keep my eyes open. And maybe, just maybe, it would turn up. I repeated this mantra as I searched the nooks and crannies of my car and walked back and forth in my backyard.
A few minutes later, my friend called me back and told me that someone had found the earring and turned it in.
A nine-year-old girl found it stuck in the grout on the pool deck. A nine-year-old girl had the appreciation and compassion to realize someone might miss it.
A nine-year-old girl whose name is Faith.
Maybe it was all of those times I paid it forward in the Starbucks drive-though line that earned me some good karma.
Maybe it was a lesson in being patient.
Maybe it was a reminder of those important markers in my life and, more importantly, that I will always have those memories even if I lose the reminders.
Maybe it helped me realize I need to take good care of my valuables. And even better care of my invaluables.
Maybe it was just crazy good luck.
Or maybe it was just a little Faith.
Turns out a little Faith can go an awfully long way. And a little Faith can make an awfully big difference.
This week I’ve had to call on Faith to navigate the toughest of all terrains. But Faith came through once again, answered our prayers and gave a much needed break to someone I love.
Life has a spectacular knack of surprising us in the most extraordinary ways, sometimes when we least expect it and sometimes just when we need it most. Miracles really do abound. Every day. Some that matter and some that matter a thousand times more.
There’s always a chance that good news might come right at the moment when you’re ready to accept the bad news. You never know when things might turn around, and you never know what you might find when you’re stuck in a rut. Or in the grout.
Sometimes we just need a little Faith to remind us that all is never, ever lost.
When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back. –Linda Poindexter
Happy Father’s Day to the dads in my life who have helped make it nothing short of spectacular.
Thank you for your love, your generosity and your fearlessness. Thank you for teaching me the value of hard work and determination. Thank you for your guidance, your encouragement and for helping me with all of my skinned knees. And thank you for always, always believing in me.
Today I celebrate those extraordinary men who love without condition, lead by example and live beyond potential.
I am lucky to be surrounded by such men.
And I am lucky my three sons are surrounded by such men.
But if I’m truly lucky, my three sons will grow up to be such men.
Twelve Tokens of Wisdom for a Wednesday:
1. Make sure all toilets are flushed before other small members of your household go to practice their whirly techniques.
2. Spiderman simply cannot be trusted.
3. The Daily Show really isn’t the only source of news for young people.
4. H&M sells muscle shirts for five year olds.
5. A convertible car seat has over 30 nooks and crannies easily reachable by vomit.
6. Bleach water and a toothbrush will remove vomit from said nooks and crannies.
7. Healthy eating is overrated.
8. Don’t go to Costco expecting to just get paper towels.
9. Every kid has a little genius.
10. Don’t cry over spilled Pedialyte. Especially when you were the one who spilled it.
11. But if you have to spill something, just don’t spill the beans. Or peanuts.
12. And sometimes they say it best by saying nothing at all.