I always wanted to be invisible. This seems as good a place as any to start. I am--have always been--painfully shy, an observation that makes people who think they know me laugh out loud. But no, I spent the better part of my life wishing I could blend better into life's furniture and background. But God had something else in mind.
Because there is Nic, who is the antithesis of shy and retiring and is everything and more than what I was at age 12. Nic has all my tectonic force and emotional storminess minus the female circumspection and decorum. He lays everything bare without any thought of what it could cost him.
Which led me to ask the question: where the HELL did he come from?
My answer came to me this morning while I drove into work, thinking of conversations I've had with colleagues and a conversation I had with a fellow mom last night about some one who feels compelled to move because of her family's ostracism from their neighborhood and my response: "I know what this looks like--can you have her contact me? Email me? I'd love to talk to her."
This was one of those moments where I was saying the words, but they were as new to me as they were to my listener. Because as I listened to this stranger's story, I heard my story. I watched my little one perambulate around the room, humming to himself, and I noticed a few sets of eyes looking at him.
Yes. Ostracism. I know something about this.
For all the self-flagellation I engage in about not being a better model to my boys, I realized this morning that Nic is OUT THERE because I am OUT THERE. For the last 10 years I've been knocking myself out--sometimes literally--to ensure that my boys are part of the community. And the pains I have taken are starting to pay off.
Take the sacraments. All I had to do at any point in the last 5 years is ask Fr M to administer sacraments to Nic. It's been my preference, however, that he receive the sacraments in the community, just like every other kid his age in the parish has done. Nic's behavior posed a big limiting factor to this; Gabriel's does not. Gabriel, consequently, will make his sacraments on the same timeline as his peers. And I just got the green light for Nic to make his sacraments of Penance and Communion with G. Nic will then make confirmation with his class next fall.
The point here is that my boys do this with the community. And it looks like, at long last, this will happen.
I look at all the other things we have going on right now: track, scouts, swimming, bowling, music, and I realize that all these years I have been throwing myself out there, getting thrown to the mat, picking myself up and dusting myself off, Nic has not only been watching, but he is also doing. For better or for worse. I am teaching him how to be a proper warrior. And he's learning. He is not always right, or quiet, or neat, but there is nothing half-hearted about the way he rolls. Not even his laugh.
I asked for invisibilty; I got armor instead.