Jack walked into the house and found me scraping out the bottom of a muffin pan of its burnt contents after another failed baking attempt. "Before I was born I was a blade of grass." he said. I heard "Was I born a bad ass?"
Of course I asked him to repeat himself because misheard things have been known to cause conflict in our home.
The last instance was when I thought our four year old said the F word, which he did. But in his defense he thought he was singing Uptown Funk.
I stopped the scraping and asked him to repeat himself. By this time his older brother was standing there when Jack, (7) again declared that he was a blade of grass before he was born. Fin immediately said that it was stupid and impossible. Jack held his ground, (pun intended) yet this time defensive and hurt.
He explained that he wasn't a blade of grass for very long, but when he was it was wonderful. He remembers being cold at night and waiting for the sun, and when it finally came up he would feel it's warmth. He talked about how he got water from the ground when he was thirsty.
Fin decided that this wasn't worth his time and he left saying that he hoped a dog peed on Grass Jack. By this time Jack was drawing vibrant fields grass on a paper and tried to ignore his brother's insult. As tears were forming in his eyes and he asked me if I believed that he was a blade of grass before he was born. I told him that I believed him with my entire heart.
Since Jack was born, he has added a sweetness to our family. His heart is pure and his love is contagious. After struggling with postpartum depression Jack was the first of my children whose birth showed me what other women were talking about with love at first sight. When he was 3 we thought he had wondered off. For two agonizing hours we couldn't find him. The reason I bring that up, is because our entire neighborhood joined forces and went looking for him. Even when he isn't even trying, he brings out goodwill in people.
If something in his little heart identifies with a simple blade of grass, so be it.
When do things get complicated? To a kid it is really simple. There is love. Eventually fear creeps in, But usually love can overcome fear. I was terrified of the dark as a kid. I was afraid somebody was going to climb up from the floor and get me. A fear based on Edgar Allen Poe's, The Tell-Tale Heart The fictional story my brother told me had created such a fear in me that my mom would lie on the floor in the spot that the dismembered body was going to creep up from, until I fell asleep. Her love, not her girth, or strength, weapons or opinions were going to save me, but just the fact that she loved me, led me to feel safe.
*On a side note, I would like to thank my brother for telling me that story so I could have nightmares the first half of my life.
You fear what you don't know or understand. In my case it was a story, in other's case its someone who is different from you. But even in my darkest moment of fear when I thought Jack was gone, love prevailed.
The biggest lesson I try and teach my boys is one that I have to work on every single day. What if there was no "you" and "them"? What if we all came from the same source? If you insult someone you are essentially insulting yourself. But if you show compassion and love to someone, ultimately you are showing love to yourself as well.
Some will say, it's not that easy or it's easier said than done. Which is true, but it shouldn't be. Love really isn't hard. Do we really have all the answers anyway?
Recently our home state of Indiana has been in the news for a bill that was passed. There has been mud slinging of hatred on both sides, I have to remind myself and my boys that we are all one. When you look at a field you don't see the tiny blades of grass, you see it as a whole and it is beautiful.
As we get older we find ways to make things complicated. It is all pretty simple when you step back and look from a wide lens instead of a narrow one.
Love really can conquer fear if we step aside and let it.