Convincing my 11-year-old it’s time for bed is not always easy. But I had a moment, just a moment this evening.
I was sitting at the top of the stairs looking down the hallway. I could see in the bathroom just a little bit. The door was cracked. I wasn’t exactly watching my son brush his teeth and do the bathroom necessities. I mean, really, how weird would that be, a dad watching his son in the bathroom. Creepy! I was just sitting there on the top step, waiting. He would finish and then we’d pray together before he went to bed. My wife was convincing our younger two kids that sleep would be a good idea. Incidentally, why must children be convinced every single night that sleep is beneficial? It is as if they forget how much they need it, how good it feels to be rested.
Every night, I say every night we have … but I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes. I was sitting at the top of the stairs waiting.
I could hear singing; my 11-year-old had a beat in his head. I looked up. The toothbrush was in his mouth, but it was not scrubbing a molar. Both arms were thrust high in the air as he danced. This was not a particular move, I don’t think. There was no technique and no music, except what he heard in his head. But he did hear. And he delighted to watch himself in the mirror, dancing.
I too was delighted. At the moment I thought, thank you. Thank you God for giving me this boy as my son.
I am into sports big time. I love sports. My 11-year-old waffles between mildly interested and completely disinterested. He likes that fact that the NCAA tournament is on and he watches a little, but he does not care about the teams. He and I are so different.
He is an artist. He sketches and paints and draws. A small part of me always wanted to do that. But I didn’t love it so I never developed any skills. My boy loves it. No one has to tell him to draw. He picks up a pencil and creates a world on what was a blank paper. He has taught himself to sketch complicated pictures. Sometimes he uses books that tell the steps for a particular drawing. Sometimes he just copies a picture. Sometimes he draws from memory; sometimes from imagination. I could never do that, not the way he does.
He is a dancer. We force him to go to dance class and he always complains because it involves structure and being under the authority of instructor. He loathes structure. He disdains any authority except his own. He craves free play. Give him an hour with his friends, he’ll want two. Give him two, he wants four. But then, after months of forced dance classes, he absolutely kills it on the stage at the recital and he is so proud. And we are so proud. Sometimes he just dances in front the mirror, delighted at the song in his head. He and I, we are so different. I am so grateful to be his dad.
After we prayed and the lights went off and I pried away the toys and flashlights he had squirreled under the covers (why must I convince him sleep is good … I digress), he had a rap beat in his head and it started coming out of his mouth. “Today is my day-ay-ay. Gonna get my way-ay-ay.” I shut off the light (except the Christmas lights which he keeps on year round). And I smiled. My son is color and rhythm, and tonight as he drifts off to sleep, he’s feeling the beat. Thank you God for simple pleasures.