Today was Jake’s day. Living in a house of all girls, my fourteen year old son rarely gets a day that is all about him.
But, today was the day. With one sister at dance and the other babysitting, it was just the two of us. This was my chance, my chance to connect with my ‘man-child’. At 6 2′, 175 pounds Jake is, ummm, a little big for one that hasn’t even started high school yet. But, all it takes is about 5 seconds with him to know that is he all of fourteen. He loves sports, video games, more sports, being goofy and pestering his sisters.
As crazy as I am about him, it can be a challenge to connect with him, but today I was determined. I was set on joining his world.
Come one, dude. ( I love calling him dude, it makes me feel so tough, even though I’m not) What do you want to do? You have my full attention.
His eyes lit up with mischief.
Okay, so that wasn’t the brightest thing to say to Jake. I closed my eyes hoping that he would pick something that I actually enjoyed, like shooting airsoft guns in the backyard or a board game.
“I know exactly the thing,” he exclaimed and then ran into the other room, banging into the walls as he went.
He came back with his phone and my phone in his hand. “I am going to teach you to play Clash of Clans.”
Dead pan. I have no expression and catch myself quick enough to plaster a fake smile on my face.
Okay… here we go, was all I could muster up.
Clash of Clans is a video game. It’s an app on Jake’s phone that creates clans. You work with others to become a clan, attacking and defending villages. It’s not that it’s awful. It’s just that video games are really- really- not my thing.
“I’ve got to play my music for you too,mom, while I teach you to play so you get the full effect.”
And there we have it, it just got worse. This was going to be painful.
Within seconds the fantasy I had played out of us throwing a football and laughing as we shared our feelings, went up in smoke. I know, it was lofty, but we do that, don’t we, have these ridiculously stupid movies that play out in our head.
Nevertheless, I joined him on the couch, as Lacrae, his favorite rap artist, came on. He turned it up loud as he shouted instructions on how to train my armies and build walls, over the booming base and raps being thrown down.
I got up momentarily to dance to the rap music, but when I glanced back over at him, he wasn’t smiling.
“Uh, mom, don’t do that. Just don’t. Just stop. Stop, mom.”
I sat down once again, feeling a little defeated.
He just handed me back the phone,”Promise me you won’t ever do that again.”
Okay, let it go, I said to myself, this is not about you. This is not about the fact that you love to dance. It’s about Jake and doing it his way today.
Jake was already lost in explaining how I was to collect gold and elixir and who knows what else.
And while I worked to not cringe, thinking how this whole event was so far from what I would enjoy, a serene patch of grass, some classical music, a good book, I could not help but notice Jake.
He was beaming, his eyes dancing as he shared with me what he enjoyed.
Funny… when I noticed this, when I took the time to look at him, to really see him, everything else, the loud rap music, being huddled around my phone, it all seemed to fade away. Only his face remained.
His face remained.
It didn’t last all day, just an hour or so. In all honestly, that was about all I could handle, but I learned an important lesson. Jake needed me to join his world every now and then.
And that got me thinking, dear sisters, do we make time to join the world of others- a child- a spouse- a parent-a friend- a stranger- if even for a few moments?
Do we enter into their pain? Do we enter into their joy?
Or, are we so obsessed with our own lives and our own thoughts and feelings, that even when others offer us a chance to enter in, we quickly weave it back to us, making it all about us? Are we too busy to take the time?
There is more to the story here, but this is where I will leave it for now. Because I think it’s too important.
Because we all want to be seen, right?
Oh, dear sisters, may we take time this week to join someone else’s world.
Some who needs to be seen.
Someone who desperately needs to know they are just fine the way they are.
Someone who needs to know they are not alone.