Tuesday, September 9, 2008

baby, you can count on me

I had planned on calling her Elaine, but Elijah wouldn't hear of it. "That," he assured me, "is not very catchy."

"Well, what would you suggest?" I asked him, assuming "Padme" would be the answer. But to my suprise, he said, "Mary, because God would have to bless a baby named after His mother." And who could've argued with such a sensible conclusion? So, Mary it is.

Lately, I've needed Elijah's help more than ever. While teaching letter sounds to Ben or guiding Priscilla through a lesson on similes ("Is it appropriate," she asked this morning, "to say, My cat is as kind as Jesus?"), I depend on him to monitor his littlest sister who, when unsupervised, will eat white sugar, brown sugar, or hot chocolate mix by the fistfuls.

At first she was resistant to the idea of a surrogate authority figure, and whined when he tried to distract her from her sole preoccupation: being held by me. But, bless his heart, he kept at it and now she trails him like he's the Pied Piper, himself. "Eli-i-jah!" I hear a thousand times an hour, "Where a-a-re you?"

Not too long ago, I found him hiding in my closet. "What are you doing?" I asked, and then he shushed me.

"It's Mary," He whispered. "She wants me to dance with her, again!" I kissed him and shut the door, respecting his need for a break and delighting in his sweetness. Because he knows, and I know, and you'd know if you met her, how hard it is to resist that lower lip, all puffed out and drooping, when she's sad.

Yesterday, it poured. Mary begged Elijah to play with her in the rain. What a sight they made together in their winter boots and shorts: a nine-year-old boy and a three-year-old pixie, splashing, laughing, making lemonade out of lemons, and a tired mother, this grateful mother, happy.


neil said...

Great story! That is so sweet! I love that he was hiding in the closet and even more that you let him continue for a little break! It's a like a sitcom, but so real and sweet.

BTW, isn't it your name day? If so, many years to you! If not, many years anyway. Thanks for the great post! I can't wait til my boys play together!

Kelly said...

What great memories you are creating for your children by undertaking the seemingly overwhelming task of homeschooling! I applaud you and your efforts, and your children will cherish these memories in the years to come.

And what a great testament to their Orthodox raising that the references to Jesus and the Theotokos are interspersed throughout their day.

Thank you once again for sharing!

Erin said...

On your terrible, frustrating, ready-to-quit homeschool days, go back and read this post. This is what it's all about. Beautiful! And, as the oldest sibling of four, I so appreciate your willingness to let him hide in the closet sometimes. Even the doting, responsible, loving oldest sib needs such a break sometimes. I would know.