Monday, November 8, 2010

Another reason Donovan is my favorite son

This kid

kills me with his love. He's energetic and loud and stinky and always in motion, but he's also one of the most sensitive loving kids I've ever met.

He drew a giant picture of himself and Joel playing football and asked Joel to tape it to his office wall so "you can look at it while I'm at school and feel my love."

If he knows I've been sad, he leaves a stuffed animal next to my pillow.

He is always the first to "awwwww" high-pitched when Gemma puts on a new outfit or tries a new hairstyle.

He thanks me for dinner and clean laundry and video games. Endlessly.

Yesterday might be the ultimate, though. Let me explain: In our church, everything is voluntary (no paid positions). So members are given "callings" or "called to serve" in various capacities. For the past two years I've been the Singing Time Leader in Primary (the meeting for kids ages 3-11) and have had the opportunity to spend about 45 minutes per week teaching 100 or so kids (and their teachers) songs. It was a calling I went into with much trepidation, but I loved it. Some of those kids can get crazy. Some of them make me grateful for my kids. And some inspire me to be a better parent in the hope of creating awesome mini-adults. A week ago, I was told I was being released from that calling (and called elsewhere). This wasn't surprising, seeing as how I figured two years would be the maximum. It's a demanding job, and I look forward to not wearing 3 pounds of deodorant each Sunday. But still, leaving was incredibly sad.

Donovan's first question was, "Why are you quitting mom? Don't you like it in Primary?" Heh, that's not how it works, buddy. I explained to him that we all take turns. Because of this method, you get a lot of experience in many areas, from teaching children to organizing dinners for hundreds to preparing lessons. People are less apt to get prideful when they know there are dozens of other capable people ready to step in. It's a wonderful learning experience and the callings I've had over the years have blessed my life in ways I cannot number. But my time had come.

As I stood before the children on Sunday and made them promise to still be my friends, my voice caught as I looked at each one and reflected on how lucky I was to know them and to teach them (and, I'll say it, to have them love me). I really FELT it. And then I looked at Donovan, who was rubbing his eyes. Huh, I thought.

On we went, through the songs, including one I was teaching with sign language (the only way to get real silence in there), glancing at Donovan every now and then. Sometimes he was rubbing his eyes. Sometimes he just looked miserable. Sometimes he was singing. But mostly he looked like he had just gotten in trouble or something. As, um, lively as he CAN be, he is actually very well-behaved in organized situations (so my house is disorganized, hmm? yes, I guess so), so it was weird.

After church, as we walked to the car, I asked him if his eyes were ok.
"They were kind of itchy," he mumbled.
"Oh! Is your nose running? I wonder if it's allergies or something."
"No. They were just...I might be tired...I don't know."
"Huh," I said. "I wonder if you're getting sick?"
As he climbed into the car, I heard him quietly say, "Well actually I was just sad that you won't be in Primary any more."

And that's when I cried. "That's the nicest thing you've said to me in a long time!" He turned around and threw himself into my arms saying he would miss me.

He's a sensitive soul, that boy of mine. He can make gross jokes and do things that test my last nerve, but he can also love in ways that make my breath catch in my chest and me say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for such a wonderful little dude.

A couple weeks ago as I walked the kids to school, I saw a couple kids pile out of a car and as the mom asked, "Can I get a hug?" the oldest kid sprinted away, yelling back over his shoulder, "MOM! I told you: NOT AT SCHOOL!"

"Ugh," I said, turning to the mom and motioning toward Donovan, "How long until he does that to me?"

"Sixth grade," she said, a little sadly.

I wonder, though, if my little dude will do that. Whether he does or not, I'm going to enjoy his open affection for now. Speaking of, here comes the kid now. He's got irresistibly soft cheeks. I need to go smash a kiss into them.


wanda said...

David never did get embarrassed about hugs. I tried to embarrass him by threatening to hug him when I was doing school music, but he was always like "bring it on."

Dono is a good little dude. You've got a keeper there.

Kyle and Sarah said...

Ok Sarah, you just totally made me cry! What a sweet boy you have! I am loving all the hugs I get from my boys, even though my oldest is 12, and the other is 9 years old...they still love me!

celeste said...

oh, that dono!

re: primary song leader. a year into it, and i'm realizing it really is the best calling in the church. (pounds of deodorant notwithstanding.)