The Joy of Four

I got to go on a date last night.  It rocked.  Michael has been mentioning for weeks now that we are almost out of red and yellow construction paper (clear evidence that I have obviously failed in my homeschooling mother/craft mistress role).  Those are his two favorite colors now so he's been talking about and planning a trip to the store to buy some more so he could make his Christmas gifts.  I've been wanting to get some alone time with him before the baby is born and this was the perfect opportunity.

We stopped by Penney's for a quick errand and then went on over to Michael's and THEY HAD IT.  They had packs of just red and just yellow construction paper and he was so excited.  I mean EXCITED.  We strolled the aisles a bit with no hurry and I let him look at all the craft supplies and he was enthralled.  I loved it.  He was such a chatterbox and I'm pretty sure the whole store could hear whatever he was saying as he spoke with that four year old voice that doesn't really realize how loud it actually is.  But I didn't shush him and I didn't hurry him.  He chattered and talked and laughed and it was probably good for all those other people to hear anyway :)  It certainly was for me.  And I soaked it in as best I could.

After our primary paper-buying mission was complete we headed over to Panera for a treat.  I wish I could ingrain in my memory the look he had when they brought up the hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream.  And the agonizing look he had on his face when I told him he could pick out one of the treats.  After a grueling few moments, he opted for the gingerbread man.  We sat by the fireplace and shared hot chocolate and slowly deconstructed our gingerbread man, which as you might guess, is quite fun for a four year old boy to do.  He talked and ate and saved the rest of the cookie and drink to bring home to share with his brothers. 

I came home just glowing with how in love I am with this little boy.  I love that going to the store and getting hot chocolate was the greatest thing in the world to him.  Our Michael.  He is just filled with joy and it is so, so good to see.  This same little boy used to worry me so much.  Beginning around age two he developed this tendency to go inward that really did not seem healthy.  Any reprimand, or even gentle correction sent his thumb to his mouth and you could just see him go 'inside'.  He didn't seem to have the contentment and joy that we were used to from his older brother and seemed so closed.  He seemed so insecure and he appeared so lost in social situations.  His temperament seemed to show so much melancholy and in fact, much of my worry was because a lot of his tendencies reminded me of me.  Brian and I began to pray.  We prayed several novenas for him and prayed for him by name at night (Sacramental graces, right?).  We did our best to treat him gently and really tried to figure out the ways that 'reach' him.  And now, it almost brings tears to my eyes when I see his eyes light up with joy at some four-year-old delight or hear him chattering and singing to himself as he plays.  He is so sweet, so good.  He loves to help with any task I have for him and he has joy in his heart.  True joy. 

Thank you, Lord for bringing this little boy out of that world he was in.  Thank you for bringing joy to his heart and in turn, for sharing that joy with me.  Thank you, sweet Father, for Michael.

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