Things have been a little shaky on the school front lately. Your homework, in particular, has been a bit…er…lax. Your teacher is e-mailing me left and right about missing pieces of paper and projects. (Okay. Maybe the missing project was a big bit my fault since I hauled off and threw it away. Who could have known that saving the pandas had a shelf life of three stinkin’ weeks.)
After a few of these missives from school, we had a heart-to-heart during which you very earnestly told me from the piercing depths of your melty brown eyes, “Sometimes I need help, too.”
I died a thousand deaths right there in front of you. Guilty as charged, Little Man. Your brother requires so much assistance after school that it’s all I can do to keep track of the four of you while I sit next to him working through math and reading assignments. Nevermind the cobwebs slowing down my brain as I strain to draw forth long-forgotten fraction knowledge and the basic plot line of Where the Red Fern Grows. It’s been a LONG time since I was in fifth grade.
But not so long that I’ve forgotten the value of being noticed, and my dear, I am so sorry that your trek through school work does go largely unnoticed. It is a soul-soothing relief to me that you eagerly manage your homework yourself and naturally gravitate toward playing with your brother and sister after school to boot. I am so very grateful for you.
And while there are days when you may feel overlooked, know this: the payoff is coming. None of your contributions to our family go unnoticed. You won’t always be eight. One day, before either of us can comprehend it, you will be a sixteen-year-old near-adult asking to borrow my car.
Isaiah, do you know what I’m likely to say when you ask?
“Sure. Go ahead, Buddy. My keys are hanging in the cabinet.”
Do you know why? Because a million images of you being trustworthy will have flashed through my mind. Little by little, you’re building a case that will be impossible to refuse.
Especially if you turn those brown eyes on me.