And then it comes to me. What I don’t hear is the sound of music. What I don’t hear is the faraway sound of my mother’s sweet, sad violin, the solid sound of my father playing out a melody on the piano over and over, and the sudden silence when I know he is writing it down. All that music that comes out of the night.
I close my eyes.
It is kind of nice to miss something of my mother and father.
I quickly open my eyes, surprised.
I wonder if this is a small truth.
A small truth about me.
—The Truth of Me
This quiet little story is aimed at upper elementary age kids, but I loved it. I loved Robert, his dog Ellie, his grandma Maddy, the “truths” he discovers about himself and those he loves.
Robert is a regular kid. He even hates being called Robert. And just like all regular kids, there is far more understanding and wisdom beneath the surface than we realize. More reading between the lines than we think they’re capable of. There is also far more grace and forgiveness than we screwed up adults often offer each other.
It’s kind of sad. Robert wants to love his parents. He just doesn’t have a lot to go on. It got me wondering about how my kids view me. Do they ever even see my pain, or fear, let alone wonder where it comes from? Do they notice when I’m on the verge of tears? If they do, is it respect or embarrassment, or something else entirely, telling them to turn away and pretend they don’t see? Something tells me they are more aware of my emotions than I give them credit for. They might just understand me better than I do them.
Yesterday I opened a box of Christmas decorations. My favorite ornament is a paper chain my firstborn made me a couple of years ago. On each link in the chain he wrote something he loved or was thankful for about me. There are the usual things you’d expect: “that you make food for us” and “for giving us things that are nice for Christmas.” But how about this one?
“That whether you’re sick, sad, sleepy, or just plain angry, you still love us.”
Those tears I try to hide come spilling out every time I read it. He’s a little boy, and he notices. He sees the sick, the sad, the sleepy, even the angry. Thankfully, he sees the love, too.
Back to the book. The one sentence non-spoiler plot summary: Robert’s mother has always been distant, and in the middle of a somewhat mystical experience with Maddy, he learns why.
Robert’s tenderhearted response in the last two pages had me in tears. I know; there’s a lot of that in this post. I guess another “small truth about me” is that I’m a sucker for sweet little boys. I think I’ll go hug mine now.