Tuesday, September 25, 2007

a 3 foot tall teacher

The past few days have been quiet ones. Yesterday, Silas and I went to the pediatrician in the morning and that was it. Around noon, I lay on the couch next to him while he drank his milk. He was sluggish and crabby from shots in both arms and legs, and as I lay there beside him, I had a brief certainty that I didn't need to be doing anything else at that moment. Though there were errands waiting in the car, a computer humming with power on the counter, books stacked by my bed to be read, students in need of tutoring, all I needed to be was on the couch next to Silas catching his feet when he raised them in the air and keeping him company while he drank.

He has grown from baby-to-care-for into companion. Lately, he'll plop down somewhere, usually on his dragon chair or this morning on a hill of sand at the beach, and then say "Mama" and tap the sand next to him. He'll answer questions, "would you like to go home now?" with a pause and a thoughtful "...noh."

He also, once again, tends to be a pretty good teacher. When we were in DC last, Ben, much of his family, and I went to see a grief counselor. Among other things, she talked about being present, giving our full attention to the person we are with. Silas does this naturally, and I guess we all must have at some point. He cannot stay on task for longer than a 15 second span -- when I tell him to get his shoe by the door, I have to remind him over and over of his task as he swerves off to pick up a car, to climb stairs, to find a raisin under the table, to put on my shoe -- but each thing he does, on task or off, he engages in completely. So I am trying this too, to look into people's eyes, to keep my phone on silent when I'm with a friend, to hear people the first time, to mute my cluttered mind.

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