A day with Whit

One day a couple of weeks ago, Whit stayed home from school.  He’d been sick to his stomach the night before, and though he woke up feeling 100% fine, I felt I should abide by the rule that says you can’t come to school if you’ve vomited in the last 24 hours.  I rearranged a bunch of meetings and was able to spend the day at home with Whit.  For most of the day, I was at my desk and he was watching TV, reading, or playing with Legos in the room right next door.  But I managed to carve out a few pockets of time for us to do quiet things together, and it turned into a lovely, lovely day.  One of those absolutely ordinary days that I know I’ll remember forever.

In keeping with my fierce belief in the healing properties of both fresh air and books, we went for a walk to the library.  On the way we walked past a barren bush that was full of sparrows.  Their dun-colored feathers made them almost invisible to the eye, but their music was loud enough to stop Whit in his tracks.  “Do you hear that, Mummy?”  He tilted his head.  I nodded.  He squinted, and leaned towards the bush.  “I guess I can see them, if I look carefully,” he peered even more closely.  “But not at first.  And they are so loud!  It’s magic.”

Yes, Whit, it is.  I’ve been startled by the beauty of the song of sparrows before, and to witness Whit having the same reaction was powerful and surprising-but-not.  We continued down the street.  I pointed out birds’ nests, newly visible in the bare branches of the winter trees.  At one point as we walked he slipped his hand into mine, and I squeezed it, and we walked on.

I asked him what he would like for lunch, letting him choose, as a treat.  And he asked for a Panera grilled cheese, so that is what we got.  Then we drove to the car wash.  As we lurched into the tunnel of the wash, I looked back to watch Whit’s palpable wonder.  His eyes were wide and his head was swiveling back and forth as he watched the action around us.  “Look, Mummy!” (what’s better, ever, to hear than that?)  “Look at the lights!”  Then he held his hand to the window, noting, “I can feel the flaps banging against the side of the car.”  His delight was infectious.

I picked up my phone and noticed several new Safari windows open.  “Have you been on my phone, Whit?”  I glanced back to see a mischievous smile on his face.

“I asking Siri questions.”  I shook my head, smiling.  I am not a Siri fan.  “Siri is really good, you know, because if you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can always talk to her.”  Meet my son: a true extrovert.

Then we went to the farm stand where I buy our Christmas wreaths every year.  We picked out two: boxwood for the front door and pine for the kitchen window over the sink.  Whit counted out 12 paperwhite bulbs, putting each one carefully in a brown paper bag.  The man behind the counter gave him a sheet of space stickers and a lollipop.  As we drove home, dusk gathering around us, Whit sighed, “That man was so nice,” and I thought to myself: please don’t ever, ever stop noticing kindness in strangers, the magic of bird song, the adventure of a car wash.

When we got home we hung the wreath on the door and walked upstairs.  I had to get back on my computer.  But first I looked out the window.  “Whit, look!”  he poked his head around the corner from the family room.  “Look at that sky.”  I pulled him onto my lap, his legs long and knobby, his feet almost touching the floor, and we watched the sky streak with pink through my office window.  He leaned his head back against my shoulder.

“Mummy?”  I pressed a kiss into the side of his cheek.  “I really love days like this with you.”

Oh, my Whit, my still-seven year old son, my savant, my sage, my spirited comedian.  I do too.


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14 Comments

  1. Kathie Wachs
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Lovely. I treasure those days, too.

  2. Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Really lovely. Brought tears to my eyes. These days are so precious and kids grow up so fast. How wonderful that you were able to slow down and notice this day. A beautiful post.

  3. Glo
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Oh, this touches my heart and makes me smile. Special, special boy 🙂

  4. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful day (and a beautiful sky!). I found a lot of affinity with my own Abra in your words. There is one of those — what to even call it? — “windsocks,” those crazy plastic things that whips in the wind, that they put outside of car dealerships to attract visitors. There are two near our house, and Abra scans her field of vision for them every time we drive by. I had never noticed them until recently, and now I feel a silent thrill every time we drive by, wondering if we’ll see them or not.

    Abra is super sound sensitive, and hears things I simply have learned to tune out over years (like a tree full of birds). She loves the stickers they give her at Trader Joe’s, and I once heard her exclaim, as I cursed someone in traffic, “I like people! They are so nice!” From the mouth of babes, right?

  5. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Oh honey, just heaven! And so beautifully described. Thank you for sharing that lovely day with us. I’m in California this week, and now I miss my son so hard!!!! ; )

  6. Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Such a beautiful post and a beautiful day. I’m heartened by posts like this because I know that these kinds of moments will fade away one day, and I don’t know how long they will last. IEP is four now and it’s comforting to know that his snuggly and affectionate spirit won’t be overcome by pre-teen coolness for several more years.

  7. Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    After having days like these, I always wonder why I wait for the girls to be home sick to have quiet, down time… makes me think about pulling them each out of school one day per year just to be…

  8. Posted December 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Sick days where they aren’t really that sick are the best! And I agree, fresh air and books cures all.
    I wish for you many, many wonderfully ordinary days just like this one.

  9. Posted December 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    This is so sweet. Right now I have my 2.5yo boy to myself three days a week while his big sis is in preschool. Because baby #3 (another girl) will arrive very soon, I know these are some of my last “regularly scheduled” days with just my boy. Reading about your day helps me realize that while they won’t be as regular, every once in a while we may again get a day with just the two of us. Love your writing, Lindsey. You make the very ordinary so very beautiful. -Sarah

  10. Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Oh goodness. I know you know how much I know this day meant to you–as they do for me when I have them with H. xoxo

  11. Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Oh this is so sweet. A very special day. Whenever Sam and I have a (rare) time just the two of us he always wants to go to Panera. Something about that place I guess! (I’m thinking it’s the bakery.)

  12. Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    How wonderful is the gift of awareness – especially in a child. And especially in a world where so much bombards them with automatic answers and robs them of their ability to “tune in” to the world, rather than tech. I love the part where he noticed the sky first – my daughter and I often have those moments in the car. Once I called home to tell her and her dad to look out the back window and she said “I know – I’m already out on the porch!”

  13. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I love this. What a remarkable little guy you have.

  14. Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    I love days like those. One-on-one time with our kids is priceless. Thanks for sharing this as a great reminder to enjoy the simple yet precious snippets of time we get with our kidlets.