I have been busy these past few months preparing my 2nd grader for his First Communion and my 6th grader for his Confirmation. Just like Ryland’s preparation for his First Reconciliation, I am also the one teaching my boys about the first two sacraments I mentioned. I think our parish has a really good program in that they involve the parents in teaching about their Catholic faith. As the workbooks have repeatedly mentioned, the family is every child’s first community and the parents are their first teachers.
So, I’ve been really busy every night sitting with each one of my two boys, alternately, with their lessons. One child would hang around while I spend time with his brother. I knew that they were wishing that it were their turn that night. You would think that they would be happy that I am spending a one-on-one time with them at least every other night. But alas, there’s never enough time to spend with them.
Ryan, my 6th grader, started to volunteer this morning at a soup kitchen in our neighbourhood as part of his 20-hour Christian service project requirement before he gets confirmed in June. So I took the morning off from work to accompany him. We got up earlier than usual, which was really a sacrifice on Ryan’s part because it is Spring Break after all. He should be sleeping in but instead he had to get up an hour earlier.
We were finishing breakfast when Ryland came downstairs at around 6:45 am, quite early for him to be up as well. He must have heard me and Ryan talking in the kitchen. But we were getting ready to leave and I didn’t have time to serve him breakfast (anyway it was too early for him to be up at that time) so I sent him back to bed.
Knowing that he’s such a sensitive boy, I knew that he didn’t take that really well. He had his blanket over his head when I came up and that meant only one thing. He must be crying. I tried to console him and promised to give him a treat when we came back. I kept my promise.
Tonight, as I tucked him into bed, I asked him what he did after Ryan and I left this morning. Did he go back to sleep until his Kuya Reggie got up and helped him with breakfast? No I cried again, he said. Oh my, here we go again.
“You like Kuya Ryan more than me,” he said.
I was dumbstruck, flabbergasted, astonished.
“Ryland, that’s not true. I like you all the same,” I told him.
Trying to convince him so, I told him, “I hug you lots, but I don’t hug him (because he won’t let me), do you still think that I like him more than you?”
“I kiss you but I don’t kiss him (because he won’t let me), do you still think that I like him more than you?”
He nodded again.
“I like you all the same.”
I wouldn’t stop until I convinced him.
“I still carry you when I bring you downstairs in the morning (even though it hurts my back), but I don’t carry him, do you still think that I like him more than you?”
He nodded again.
“I lie down here in your bed at night until you fall asleep, do you still think that I like him more than you?”
He nodded again.
“I like you all three the same.”
What is a mom to do?
As usual, I embraced him after he said his prayers and stayed with him in bed. Just before he fell asleep, I asked him, “Do you think I love you?”
I saw a nod in the dark.