I had no idea where the night would lead or what heavy conversations I would be having with the five year old. All I knew at the moment was how tired I was from all the yard work, the bug-slapping, bite-itching and kid-whining. We had intended to have a family outside-chore afternoon but the nap engulfed us all, leaving our family of four attempting outside chores way too late. WAY. TOO. MANY. BUGS.
The hubs and I were examining some vines that needed to be removed before retreating inside. I desperately wanted to escape the bugs while feeling stress about what lay ahead: hungry, bug-bitten kiddos starting the 7 PM whine-fest. To worsen matters, I had nothing planned. My sometimes angelic husband uttered the words that are gems for any mother:
“Hey, I have some extra cash, You wanna go grab some dinner? It’s late and I know it would be easier for you.”
We didn’t wash up or change clothes before hopping in the van. This was a drive-thru car-picnic kinda family outing. Somewhere between the chick fil-a drive thru and the Skinny Petes parking lot the husband started answering my questions. You see the hubs is insanely smart. When I want to know anything scientific, he’s got the answer. The topic was Earthquakes.
I began to realize I had not really looked up any news reports about the Japan Quake. We were soon home eating takeout and watching videos of the Japan Earthquake, and educational videos about plate tectonics. Our five year old was very interested in all of this, and within minutes we were teaching him all about earthquakes, tectonic plates, fault lines and tsunamis.
He watched the tidal wave flood into Japan and I began to feel immense heart break. Kenimer immediately began talking authoritatively: “You know what? I’m gonna go over there, I’m gonna take Daddy’s power tools and cut a hole so the water can drain – I’m gonna go to – what’s that place in Florida?” – Shannon answered with a question, “NASA?” – “Yeah – I’m gonna go to NASA, and get in a Spaceship with daddy’s power tools and destroy that wave.”
We started to realize the golden opportunity we were sitting in. I think the Lord was prompting our hearts. I suggested we pray together for Japan. We gathered on the floor and held hands. We started to cry out to Jesus but were continually intererrupted by an inquisitive 5 year old…
“Where are their mamas and daddys? Where are their toys? Are they hungry?” We answered and he continued to concoct this super hero story in which he would save the world and rescue the people, each new strategy involved daddy’s power tools. The five year old continued on and on while we tried our best to teach along the way. The three year old was soon asleep on the couch and carried to bed, he was not too concerned about Japan. As I walked through the hallway back to the family room I could hear the five year old still declaring his heroic plans to save everybody, Shannon was still answering some deep, hard questions.
We told him that he could ask Jesus to send angels to help and comfort the people of Japan. He wasn’t quite ready to lay down the superhero mantra. Shannon and I went to Kenimer’s room and spent another half hour processing and teaching about the recent tragedy. Kenimer wanted to talk all night about it. Shannon was nodding off and I could barely hold my eyes open. Sleepily, I attempted to close the discussion with “If you continue to think about the children of Japan, pray for them, Everytime the thought comes into your mind, pray, don’t stop praying“. We prayed over him, shut his door and prepared for bed ourselves. I climbed into bed and thought I heard talking from Kenimer’s Room. I wondered if Shannon had walked back in his room, but that wasn’t likely since I heard water running in the bathroom.
I got up and walked near his room when I heard the most precious sound. I heard my five year old emphatically asking Jesus to help the children in Japan find their mamas and daddies, give them food to eat, help them have new toys, help their town to dry up and all sorts of other relevant things I can’t remember. I realized my five hear old was interceding for the country of Japan.
The next thought: “Maybe we are doing something right”. Then a prayerful plea whispered “Oh God, please help me to cultivate this compassion in my child” – “Please show me how to respond to his desire to save the world and give me the words that would promote growth.” And lastly, “Give me the same compassion for Japan.”
IT. IS. SO. HUMBLING. TO. BE. A. PARENT.
My deep thinking child, Kenimer Lewis