LittleBrother is a man on a mission: He wants to eat all of the apples. All of the time.
Part of me supports this mission, because apples! The other part of me knows that the child’s underlying reason for wanting to eat all of the apples, all of the time happens to be the fact that he hasn’t yet lost any of his baby teeth. His poor little heart breaks a little more each day that passes with nary a wiggle. His older brother does nothing to help the matter at hand, reminding the younger one at any opportunity that he lost two teeth before Kindergarten.
I’m all for his adorable little baby teeth staying inside his head forever. Permanently. But that’s a different post. That I’ve already written.
So yes, all of the apples, all of the time.
You know what happens when you make your way through an entire bag of apples? You’ll find that one apple.
LittleBrother had never come across that one apple on his own before… for many reasons. Prior to this quest to lose his teeth, I had reached in the bag of apples, chosen a piece of fruit, washed it up, cut it into pieces, and served it to him on a plate. Now he can walk into the kitchen whenever he pleases, grab an apple out of the bag, and go about his merry way.
Last night, he asked if he could eat an apple even though it was close to dinner. I nodded, because apples. From the kitchen, I heard, “Mommy, this one is all dirty!” I hefted myself out of the chair, figuring it just needed washed off. He met me at the doorway of the living room, squishy, smooshed apple, oozing in his hand. “And it’s squishy.”
I helped him throw it away and washed the apple goop off of his hand. “There’s one in every bushel, Boo. Kind of like people.” As soon as I said that out loud, I wished I could take it back, but the words floated through the air, landing heavy on my shoulders.
I got him a fresh apple and sent him on his way.
Tonight we walked through the doors of the elementary school for Parent Teacher Conferences. I dread the evening, less because I worry about my kids’ academic progress and more because talking to teachers makes me sweaty. Of course, talking to anyone makes me sweaty, so I really shouldn’t get all that worked up about the annual event.
We learned lots of great things about our boys tonight, but this being LittleBrother’s first real elementary school conference, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I mean, he comes home with good stories, happy about each day of school. I knew that the his teacher had identified his reading and that they had been making a plan for what, exactly, to do with him. But I didn’t know the details of his day, the ins and outs of what makes him tick when he’s away from us. I’ve always known that our youngest son was special, that he brings something unique when he comes into the room. But I’m his mom; I’m supposed to think those things.
Tonight his teacher confirmed that’s he a very special boy, the kind you wish you could have a classroom full of; he’s a kind, bright, up-and-coming leader that inspires other kids to do more and try harder. I hope that maybe I can teach him that instead of there being a bad apple in every group, there’s a kind-hearted, inspiring person in every group. Like him. And that we should treat every person in every group like they are that special person, that they are loved and special to us. While he, like his brother already has, will come across some bad apples in his journey of life, perhaps if we treat the goopy, smooshed apple person like someone someone special, someone worthy, well, maybe the goopy, smooshed apple person will believe that they are special, that they are worthy.
At the very least, the goopy, smooshed apple yesterday, the words I chose with my son, and learning more about my sons tonight made me want to think hard about the words and actions I choose not just at home, but with the boys’ friends, their parents, and those we come in contact with on our journey. I think maybe, on any given day, we can each be that goopy, smooshed apple — but we’re all worthy of love.