Left out

January 20, 2014

Preface: Micah tends to be the clown. The type of clown who hides a lot of sadness behind his mischief. (Is there another type?)

After a tricky play date today with a friend Lysle and Micah share, I ask them to sit down with me to talk. How could all their fighting have been avoided?

Lysle’s the talker, so he has no problem giving me some answers.

Micah just keeps up the monosyllabic clowning until I send Lysle off into another room and try to pry behind little brother’s clown face.

“Micah, it’s hard for me to know how you feel and why you attacked Lysle. I can only guess. And my guess is that you felt excluded. Is that right?”

No answer.

Artie would already accuse me of putting words into Micah’s mouth and thoughts into his mind. But what can I use but my intuition when Micah keeps himself so under wraps?
“Micah, do you know what ‘excluded’ means?”
Micah looks up at me from the big pillow he’s hugging.

“Left out,” he says.

Suddenly his face is bare, vulnerable, all clownishness gone (and the pretense of my Latinate diction, too). At that moment we’re both very close to tears we don’t want to cry.
Micah jumps up to grab a book.
My boy in my lap I read him The Day the Crayons Quit.

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We both love the letter from the peach-colored crayon whose wrapping the boy, Duncan, peeled off and who now feels naked and embarrassed and in need of cover.
Last time we read this we didn’t follow up with naked peach-colored crayon. Now his plight is much closer to our hearts and we notice that that very colorfully “dressed” crayon on the final page is him because his very tip is peachy. And bursting out in fireworks of creativity.
It’s what we can do when we feel safe to have our feelings, show them, share them, ever so briefly, then hide them again.

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Micah and I understand that last page much better than we did before. And I’m amazed, once again, how we always find the books we need. Or they us.

 

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