Eliot is an interesting kid. He doesn't like to be hugged, he hates it, but he always finds some excuse to approach me at bedtime and make sure he gets his hug - just like everyone else. So I hug his stiff little body and try to make it brief. He knows he is receiving my love as I squeeze him and he won't give it up even though it makes him uncomfortable.
Eliot hasn't ever been good at expressing himself either. We always have to dig and ask and investigate to understand what his is thinking and why. I sometimes "get" him, but usually he is a mystery to me and no matter how much he wants me to understand him there has always been a wall.
This year, we have done some of our language arts with a group of friends. This has been hard for Eliot because he is the youngest and wants his writing to be just as good as the older kids' papers even though learning to read and write has been a struggle that he worked through at a different pace than his peers. The good thing about our group is that everyone has been so encouraging that deep within the misspellings and disorganized sentences - he's found his voice.
For 9 years I've known and loved this boy and finally, Finally, I'm hearing him and understanding him a bit better because he's started to write.
First, it was stacks and stacks of post-its of things he was grateful for to put into our Thankfulness Jar, then, it was a notebook with some pictures of his favorite superheroes with labels and lists of their powers. Lately we've been doing a poetry unit and I'm understanding better how he sees and processes his world. I'm delighted by his perspective, his curiosity and his unusual and perceptive take on things.
When I started the list of things I love about my husband, Eliot got in on the action and couldn't stop. He wrote about every other day something new that he loved about his dad. Tonight he wrote that he loves his dad because "you make good decision" ( either that or "you make good bacon", his letter reversals and spelling make it hard to tell.) and "You are very wise". These are thoughts he hasn't, to my knowledge ever expressed to his dad and they are even more poignant because it is so difficult for him to write it out.
It's amazing what an unexpected blessing this process has been for me. Being grateful always makes me more cheerful, more forgiving, more humble, (Phillip is always awesome, whether or not I choose to acknowledge it) but knowing that my private list became something for Zak and Eliot to participate in (apparently Charissa erased Zak's contributions) makes it even more special. Knowing that you guys participated with me kept me going, so, thank you for joining me!
It's late so it's time I let the random number generator tell me that Sherri has won! Sherri, email me what nights are good and after my kids are over their colds I'd love to babysit for you and let you know what restaurant I bought that gift card for. Congratulations!