When I don’t get dinner on the table until late, the kids devour whatever is presented. So I shouldn’t be surprised when H Boy eats 2.5 large pieces of chicken. He had just asked for another half a piece and I remarked, “you’re going to turn into a chicken!” He looked at me funny, so I ran with it.
“Oh, look! Your nose is turning into a beak!” He ran to the bathroom to check.
When he came back out I could tell he was concerned, so I let the gig drop. “I’m just teasing, honey, you’re not turning into a chicken.” But it was lost on him.
“I’m not going to eat any more chicken. My belly’s full,” he said.
And my heart kind of broke a little.
Not necessarily because we were teasing, (I asked later and he said it didn’t make him feel sad or scared.) but because tonight was an induction into something I have dreaded to experience with my little ones.
He walked into the cold, lonely world of covering his inadequacies with falsities.
He covered his nose with his hands but he declared that it was his belly that was speaking. He used his words as protection, even when they weren’t true.
Maybe there’s a little guilt at the fact his own mother brought this on, but mostly I’m sad for the world that awaits him. I’m the first to admit the joys are bigger and stronger and brighter than the sorrows – I believe that with everything that is in me. But man, the world is far from perfect and the battle to navigate it with dignity and grace can be a painful one.
Little man, you are enough. I’ll sing it ’til I’m blue in the face. You’re enough and you’re loved and you’re beautiful. Even with a beak and wings and chicken legs, you’re worthy of love. This world will try to convince you otherwise and that’s when Satan will whisper in your ear, “You’re all alone. No one else has ever felt this way. Everyone else is normal.” And it’s simply. not. true.
We all cover our nose and talk about our bellies when all we want is someone to love us when all the imperfections show.
I promise, I will. I always will.