By: Pamela Q Fernandes
I strongly believe that the reason God gives us children is to remind us of our own childhood. The days when we feared nothing, when we lived without a care in the world, knowing that we would be fed, taken care of, not worried about what the world would say, always being amazed at the grandeur of simple things and the ability to laugh out loud at whatever we thought was funny. Now with a son and so many tasks at hand I am yet to remember a day when I have truly lost myself in the moment. So when the laundry takes forever, food gets burnt in the oven, an argument brews with the husband, or my son throws tantrums I end up at the weeping wall.
Ever so often I find the need to go to the corner of my son’s playroom and sit on a chair that faces the wall. It’s where I go to take a break from the chaotic madness that surrounds my mundane existence as a homemaker. I need that time with my wall, where I can shut the door behind me, sit myself down and weep till I feel like the pain has left me. It’s my catharsis, my cleanser, my meditation, my reflection point but most of all its my weeping wall where the tears run down and my anger, frustration, hurt and struggle is washed away.
Don’t mistake the wall. It’s the place where I also send my son Callum to time out when he is up to more than mischief which is one time too many. His timeouts have gotten longer over the last few months, but they have always worked. Callum is a difficult child, naughty, up to something every minute of every day. He is always ‘on.’ Sometimes I wish children came with an off switch. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a bad mother. It’s so hard to get any work done while he’s awake. As a seamstress, that often means slaving at the sewing machine into the wee hours of the night. After a good ten minutes of time out at the wall four year old Cal usually climbs down, clumsily sliding off the chair back to his normal self.
‘Mommy, I’m okay now. Can I go out and play?’
‘Mommy, I’m okay now, can I get a cookie?’
‘Mommy, I’m okay now, can I watch TV?’
And after his sincere confession and sheepish smile, I always relent. Those time outs at the wall work well for both of us. It’s like pushing reset and everything is brand new. At least he wouldn’t go back to painting the dog with his crayons, or playing drums on our glass table, or pretend he’s Spiderman as he climbs up the cupboards. Kind of how sometimes I forget about the mess I created before the wall and then go back to being ‘normal.’
But today was different. My neighbour had dropped off her son Rishi to play with Callum. She had to be at the bank. She didn’t want to hear the ‘when are we going home’ whiny routine so she left him with me. I didn’t hesitate, with Rishi around Callum would be off my hands. I wouldn’t have to hear, ‘mom watch me fly, watch me paint, see the sun, look at this insect, where does the rain come from and blah blah…’ It’s cute but not when a million things need to be done.
Rishi and Callum ran out into the warm sunshine and played. They took off their slippers and ran barefoot on the soft wet grass. Their small feet flipped -flopped as they pretend to fly planes, then suddenly become soldiers, then one of them turned into a fire-fighter and before you know it, they’re running in the yard putting out a make believe fire and getting drenched. After an hour of putting out fires, they come in with their small dirty feet making tracks all over the kitchen, ‘mommy I’m hungry.’
I made them sandwiches and Tang. They wolfed them down and played with the dog who did not share their enthusiasm. The boys chased, cuddled and chased some more. My eye was on them all along.
I even followed them carrying my chopping board close to where they played.
‘Owww,’ said Rishi, ‘I got a bubu.’
I immediately peek in on them, Cal immediately runs to Rishi hunched over his knee. He looks at the ‘bubu’ and absently throws away the sharp tractor Rishi fell on.
‘Is this hurting you?’ he asked touching the red, angry looking ‘bubu’ on the boy’s knee.
A few tear drops started rolling down Rishi’s eyes. Cal wiped away those fat blobs with his shirt.
‘Rish, don’t cry,’ he consoled, holding his face in both his hands.
When the boy frowned and his blobs turned into rivers Cal took him by the hand, ‘don’t cry Rish, I’m going to take you to the healing wall.’
What? That was my first reaction? Was my son that imaginative? So I carefully listened and watched him as he went on to explain.
‘Yes the healing wall, come on don’t be scared. ‘
Rishi with his tear stained cheeks, slightly sniffling, asked cautiously, ‘what’s that? Is that a magical wall? Are we allowed to go there?’
‘Yea, my mom takes me there all the time.’
I roll my eyes, all the time, really? Of late he was there a lot.
He took his wounded friend slowly to his playroom.
‘It’s not just for kids, my mom comes here too.’
He dragged the chair with some difficulty and positioned it before the wall corner.
‘Okay now get on up here Rish,’
Rishi obediently climbed on the chair.
‘What must I do now?’ he asked.
Cal put one foot over the other as he mulled it over.
‘You just look at the wall, and you can cry too. I watch my mommy do it. She gets all better after she sits in front of the healing wall. She puts me here when I do bad stuff and mess up things. She makes me sit here and after a while I’m healed. Trust me the wall makes me better.’
Rishi looked quizzically at him.
‘I’m going to close the door and watch you from the peephole, that’s how my mom knows I’ve been healed and I watch her too when she cries here.’
‘Don’t be scared,’ he says and runs out closing the door slightly and reaching up to the peephole to see his friend ‘heal.’
I sighed and watched my little boy excitedly waiting for the healing miracle. He became impatient and spotted me watching him.
‘Mommy can you keep an eye on Rishi for me while he’s at the healing wall, I need to pee-pee.’
I fluffed his hair and watched him disappear into the restroom.
‘The healing wall,’ that’s what my son had understood it to be. A child’s perspective is so beautiful, so innocent and so simple. How much easier would it be if I could only look at that wall with more optimism instead of an opportunity to mourn?
My weeping has now turned to healing and thank God for the gift of children that make us see the difference. My mundane existence as a mother serves its purpose when I see the wisdom of my son.