I've been going through Mom's things and though I know it's a necessary task, there are days it's a real struggle. The other day I found Mom's calendar and seeing her life planned on the page in her familiar handwriting, the pain hit me something fierce. The kids were upstairs playing and I just laid down on the floor and tried not to cry.
After a bit Birdie boy came down and asked "Mom, are you crying?"
"No." I tried not to sniff.
He immediately came down the stairs and knelt down beside me while I fingered the calendar. "You are crying." Well, I hadn't been before, but his kindness set me off, so I nodded my head. He wrapped an arm around me and put his cheek next to mine and tried to comfort me as best as his nine year-old self could. He patted my back while my tears dampened the carpet and said, "It's okay, Mom. I'm sad too."
Tin-man came to the stairs then. "Is Mom crying?"
Birdie nodded and Tin-man immediately rushed to me and knelt by my head, but instead of trying to comfort me he grabbed the calendar and started to flip through it furiously.
"What are you doing?" Birdie asked.
"Trying to find what made my mom cry!" was his answer. That made me cry even harder.
Birdie stood then and said, "Mom, you don't have to do anything else. I'll clean up for you. Just tell us what to do." He wrapped his arm back around me and, scooting to the side, went to sit down, then promptly yelped and leapt to his feet, rubbing his backside. Startled, I glanced to my left to see what had attacked him to find toothpicks scattered across the carpet, the holder they'd been in tipped on its side. I started to laugh hysterically and both boys joined me rather quickly.
He picked up the toothpicks and smacked them with his hand. "Bad toothpicks. Mom, what do I do with them?"
I answered, "Well, after they've been stuck in your butt I don't think anybody's going to want to use them." I handed him the garbage and, laughing, he tossed them out.
What a joy they are to my aching heart.