What is Left

“Since Teddy is sick, may we walk to school this morning?”

I look at our littlest one with weary eyes, then look out the window at the dark, wet morning settling in.

Walking a couple of miles in this dreariness after dealing with a sick child for two days is the last thing I want to do.

We used to walk to school frequently, when both boys were in elementary. But since Teddy’s middle school is a few miles down the road, I simply do not have time to walk one and drive the other. A fact that our Little Man frequently bemoans.

This boy always has a plan. Usually it involves bucking the status quo. Usually it inconveniences his mother tremendously. Today, it involves taking advantage of his brother’s flu.

My aching body prepares to give him false regrets, then I remember this:

I encountered this fragile leaf print in the road on my way to the bus stop the other day. Something in its faint impression touched me deeply.

It reminded me of what is left behind.

This boy, who has created his own flavor of milkshake (marshmallow cream, chocolate syrup, and crumbled pop tart), loves anything tie-dyed in his wardrobe, and cries over puppies and babies…this boy is a pretty unique character.

Celebrating the differences in my children sounds good in theory, but these little quirks do not always raise their heads at opportune times.

He would be fine if I told him no. Would still be his sweet sparkly self. Perhaps a tiny bit less sparkly, though.

Is that what I want to leave behind?

I look at his expectant face…the little twinkle in those blue eyes, and suppress a sigh.

“Sure, sweetie. Why not?”

He places his hand in mine and we trudge off into this rain-misted morning.

And I’m so grateful.

I’m so grateful for a sick child to make me appreciate the well one.

I’m grateful for the uniqueness of both of my boys.

I’m grateful for the way his hand still fits in mine, after ten years of holding it.

I’m grateful for the slowing of time that comes with these temporary ills.

Oh, yes. I’m grateful for what has been left behind.

holy experience


  1. says

    Oh yes, I relate. I have been sleeping on the hardwood floor next to the couch for the last few nights. My little one (who often bucks me off his horse too) has a cough that settles only with propping couch pillows.

    God sure sees fit to minister to wore out mammas in ways that feed our souls when they are ’bout starved.

    Thank you for sharing. And the answer to your question–yes.

  2. says

    I think a lot of parents spend a lot of time convincing themselves that saying no to their children would leave them their sweet sparkly selves. I also think that’s not entirely true.

    I absolutely loved this, Laura.

  3. says

    As you know, my friend, my 2nd born is getting married in 5 days…. I’ve been preparing a slide show for the rehearsal dinner, which has required going through old photos, reliving the years…..

    This time with them, it passes so quickly.

    As I looked at each picture, the tears poured down my face. Oh to take a walk back…. so many things I would do differently… Sorrow and joy mixed together as I look back.

    LOVED this post!

  4. says

    I’m so glad you took that walk. You gave him a good remembrance in doing so. I want to be a mother like you… leaving tangible footprints in the memories of my children.

    Thank you for giving your sons the hugeness of heart that is so readily apparent and available via your time and attention. You are a very good mother.


  5. says

    True true words, Laura.
    I pray I’ve said yes enough. As I sat here to read this, my sometimes moody teenaged daughter that I’d just rushed along who I picked up early from a field hockey tournament, wanted to linger in the store where I just need some essentials. And then I bumped her off Facebook so I could get back to what is normally my time.
    But then she came back downstairs and hugged me from behind and told me she loved me.
    I am so blessed, because I am so not perfect in any of this.

  6. says

    How beautiful. I tend to say yes a lot, it is saying no that I must work harder on. No, so that my own needs are attended to. No, so that boundaries are set. But I think I would have said yes to a walk under stormclouds too, if only for the feel of that little hand in mine.

    Many blessings to you.

  7. says

    Oh Laura – I felt myself sliding back all those years to the time my two boys were that age. You are making wise, wise choices. One walk and a life-time of something precious in the heart of your boy. Thank you for sharing these special moments. They are such a blessing.

  8. says

    It is wonderful how each child is different from another. BTW, watch out! I had a child who always had “a plan.” His “plans” kept life very interesting and me very busy fixing the aftermaths.

  9. says

    I am so glad that you took that walk. And I, also, am grateful for what has been left behind. Again, your boys remind me of my two, now 25 and 22…so many similarities. Thank you for giving me the gift of walking back today.
    Iam really glad that you took that walk. He will remember…
    as will you….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *