Thursday, May 31, 2012

Perspective Gained at a First Grade Lunch Table

Yesterday, I attended the last field trip of the year with my oldest son - a fun time at Central Park with volleyball, bubbles, water balloons, tug-of-war, popsicles, and lunch.

During lunch, I asked the first graders sitting around me what they were going to do this summer.  The conversation quickly turned from what they were going to do (because they didn't know), to who they were going to be with or without.

Little girl R said her Dad was going to pick her up on the last day of school, because he wanted her for one month, since her Mom gets her more than her Dad.

Little boy C, sitting next to her, said he never gets to see his real Dad because he moved far away and his mom lost track of him.  When I told him "I bet your Dad misses you", he looked at me and said, "He's only called me once."  Ugh. 

Little girl D across the table said her Mom is supposed to get out of jail this summer.  She asks if you won't tell anybody then tells you her Mom is in jail for "doing with drugs."

Next to her, sat Little J.  He lives with his grandparents because his Mom is on drugs and his Dad is in jail.  He's a great kid.  Thank God for grandparents who pack his lunch, take him to Tae Kwon Do, and love him in all of the little ways kids need to be loved.

As the weight of our lunch conversations settled in on the drive home, I realized how blessed my children are to live in a home where things are as they should be.  Nothing exceptional, just life as God intended it - with parents who love Him, each other, and their kids.

I generally think of this as a "given".  I don't typically think I am blessing my sons just by showing up and being present.  But, today I am reminded that just showing up can be a blessing.  Not only to my kids, but to those kids who desperately need someone to look at, see, and listen to them.

Later that afternoon, I attended my kindergartner's year end party.  The little boy I was sitting next to didn't have any pictures of his family during the slide show, because his parents are in CPS custody and he lives with his grandma, but she works.  Another little boy pointed to the picture of his family and said "See that guy standing by me?  He's dead."  His Dad was killed a few weeks before when hit by a car on the side of a road.

My own father suffered horribly at the hands of his parents.  With God's grace, he broke the cycle of addiction and abuse and has been nothing to his children, but a positive force - a pillar of strength and unconditional love.  None of his children or grandchildren will ever see the ugliness and selfishness that would have been their inheritance without God's grace and his docility to the Holy Spirit. 
In Apostolate for Holy Motherhood, the Blessed Mother says, "Be kind to your children.  This is of the utmost importance.  They need your undivided attention when they are small...Your children are your jewels, your wealth; guard them as the treasures which they are."

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the opportunity to join my son's First grade class for lunch today and my Kindergartner's year end party.  Please bless them and children everywhere abundantly, Lord.  Preserve them from repeating the mistakes their parents have made with them.   Let them have recourse to You and the Mother we all share.  Send Your grace upon their parents, who are probably repeating their parent's mistakes.  Break the chains of abuse and addiction that bind them, so they may live in the freedom of love and give them the desire to embrace Your holy will.  Please stand in the gap for us with Your Son, His Mother, and all the Saints. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Love, love, love. Dad is my hero, too.