I admit that things around the house have not been as orderly and calm as I prefer it to be. These past ten months have been chaotic and stressful and sometimes the person that suffers from this the most is Connor. If you ask him he will never complain, nary a negative word about the way life has changed this past year…but sometimes I see a sadness in his eyes that was not there before and a preference for the couch that could be attributed to pre-teen laziness…but perhaps a slight depression. There have been more than a few times that 7pm rolls around, neither Mark or I having felt a pang of hunger due to the stresses of the day, after an hour of homework yuck… only to look at each other and realize that Connor had not had dinner and he had not said a word. Should you have been there at that moment and asked him why he never spoke up on his own behalf he would simply say, ” I was not hungry…it is no big deal” but I know that not only has his tummy been hungry a few times but so has his heart. It can’t have been easy watching a little screaming baby take almost all of your parents attention…all of their energy…and while we always show Connor our love and appreciation I sometimes lay in bed at night and worry that I am losing control more and more everyday.
Proof that God blessed me with the most amazing first born is his ability to leave it all at home and walk into his school and keep it all together. I have had no problems with Connor this first year of middle school. His grades have not suffered one bit…in fact he manages to increase his “A’s” over 100% each marking period. We were so delighted to get a letter in the mail a few weeks ago letting us know that Connor was nominated by an unknown teacher for an award called “the Shining Star” at Braddock. We were invited to come to a breakfast ceremony this past Thursday where his nominating teacher would be revealed and their words shared with the familes. His sixth grade class is 150 students strong and six of those students were singled out as being responsible and respectful. Aside from all of the chaos at home…Connor managed to not only keep his grades above average but his ATTITUDE has been recognized as positive in a middle school world that is full of a whole lot of negative.
Do not mistake this entry as evidences of my fine parenting…surely you realize that that is not true. This is a result of Connor’s own determination to stay calm in the storms, stay focused when things are fuzzy and remain positive when he overhears so much negative. I cannot imagine the worry he must feel having come home several times from school to learn that his baby brother was whisked away to Hopkins…sick, yet again. A tenderheart since youth he is madly in love with Corrigan and feels so deeply everytime he is ill. Nothing will bring Connor to tears other than his little brother sick. The adults have become a bit used to the citru-sick events but each and every one still affects Connor deeply. Yet he manages to keep it all together and be productive and kind at school.
I know that I am lucky. I know that I could be one peer-pressure moment away from something happening that would cause Connor trouble and he is more susceptible to those moments with parents that are not properly focused on each of their children…I know the fine line it can be between a normal day and a very bad day…and I am trying to make a more conscious effort to be more available to everything that Connor needs, even if he does not know he needs it. As I said above, the adults are learning to adjust to Cor’s sickness events. The doctors at Hopkins are more willing to talk about treating Cor here, in Cumberland, rather than transporting him to Baltimore and all of these things will ease the burden and stress of separating the family for days at a time, several times a month and will ease the anxiety of future illness. These things should really help to alleviate the stress levels and allow us to think clearer about our entire family and how it is functioning. Of course, a better reliance on God in ALL times would benefit us the most but I am human and often find myself overwhelmed by a lot of “what if’s” that might take place in the future…and not allowing me to focus best on the present…relying on God’s wisdom and seeking His guidance rather than my own often-poorly laid plans.
We are all learning and adapting.
Connor, though, is our aspiration. I want to be this kid…what an amazing human being.
I have to add, before sharing a few photos, that there is nothing that tickled me more, on Thursday, than watching 11-13 year old boys accept praise and accolades in front of strangers. The girls would stride right up to the principal, accept their awards, continue on to the designated spot to stand and listen proudly as their teacher’s words were read aloud. The boys, however, would shuffle, heads down toward the “podium”, reach out half-heartedily to accept their certificate and shake the principals hand as if it were posioned…and then walk quickly to the line and stare intently at the tops of their shoes as praise was shared for each of them. I think that they would have rather been caught shopping in the Barbie aisle at Walmart than be standing there that morning. It made me laugh…it made me want to ruffle my hands through their shaggy hair (and wow, ALL of those boys have some seriously 70’s-style, skater/slacker hair in all three grades!) and embarass them completely by kissing them on the cheeks and muttering “awwww….cootchie cootchie cooo” just to watch their faces turn a darker shade of red. It was utterly ADORABLE. and it is probably the only adorable thing about middle school boys…typically some really strange creatures!
I love you Connor. You rock.