Today the school nurse called me. She had Sawyer in her office, and he was crying. It’s the time of year when he gets stricken with terrible allergies and a relentless cough. His concerned teacher had stopped what she was doing to kindly walk him to the nurse’s office because she knows he takes breathing treatments and figured he needed one.
She was right.
Chad brought him home. When Sawyer spotted me he walked straight into my arms, crying. I asked what was wrong and he managed to sputter that he felt bad because his teacher had had to stop in the middle of whatever she was doing so she could walk him to the nurse, despite the fact that his teacher had been extremely kind and motherly to him. It made him sad to think that his coughing might have inconvenienced her. His sweet teacher even called later to check on him and reassure him that she just wanted him to feel better.
This isn’t the first time he has worried about such things. A couple of years ago when he was dealing with this same cough, I had run to our local grocery store to load up on his favorite junk food–anything to make him feel a little better. When I walked in and proudly displayed my finds, he said, I know you’re trying to make me feel better, but I didn’t want you to spend so much!
I remember thinking, Who is this kid? Why doesn’t he throw a tantrum already and curse this darn cough?
But, it’s how he was built. Classic middle child, peacemaker to the core, comedian when someone needs a laugh. Somehow he learned from a young age how to imagine how other people are feeling in the moment. He’s not perfect. But, he is a pretty wonderful person.
Today as I sat there watching him pitifully breathing in the medicine with that mask on his face, I turned to Chad and told him that whoever ends up snagging Sawyer for a husband is going to be an extremely blessed girl. Chad agreed. I went about my day, and after church tonight I heard Sawyer saying to Adelade, Today Mama told Daddy that whoever marries me is going to be blessed. There’s nothing Adelade despises more than bragging.
So….why did you tell me that? she asked.
Sawyer grinned. Because it means I’m AWESOME! he sang out.
When I heard him say that, it really made me stop and wonder how often that I give him, or any of my kids, specific compliments like that that really match their personalities. Sure, I give plenty of the you’re such a great kid kinds of compliments. But, how often do I turn to Adelade and tell her that I can tell by how wonderful she is with Emerald that she is going to be a great mother someday? How often do I tell Emerald that the way she cocks her head to the side and grins at me really makes me feel better when I’m having a long day? I wonder if I have ever talked to Sawyer about being a husband or daddy or even just a man someday?
I will now.
Because I could tell that hearing me say that his future wife was a lucky woman just made his week. He needs to hear from me exactly which of his qualities will make him a good husband and father, and he needs to know that I can already see wonderful things in him that I’m pleased to see developing. His kindness. His compassion. His sense of humor. His generosity.
I recently read that the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. I want to make sure the thoughts I’m planting in there are grand enough to last them their whole lifetime.
In the meantime, I suppose I’m just happy that Sawyer’s extremely blessed wife is still out there in elementary school someplace, and for now I am the main woman in his life. I pray that I will use my influence well, to show him all of the ways that God has made him unique and wonderful and just downright likeable. It’s an honor and a great responsibility to place kind words about each of my kids into their impressionable little heads. But, it’s an awfully fun job.