Some moments I don’t know who he is. He looks like my son, wears my son’s clothes, sleeps in my son’s bed; but every now and then, I look up and don’t know who he is. Today is one of those days. This morning he woke up giddy with excitement that it was Snow Day #2.
Yesterday he spent most of the day outside sledding and playing in the snow. This morning, he begged to go outside. To shovel. The entire cul de sac. The boy, who up to that moment had been known to be The Laziest Boy on Earth, had suddenly turned into a boy with initiative, empathy and industry. He had no entrepreneurial aspirations in the hopes of neighbors paying him. He just woke up and decided his mission for the morning was to be helpful.
I honestly didn’t entirely trust him–I watched from the window, expecting him to shovel a bit and then give up and play, or just lose focus entirely once he was outside and pull the sleds out immediately. Or somehow manage to move snow from the lawn to the driveway, which is not unheard of when he’s around. I expected him to be my son, what I knew of my son.
I was so proud of him, and who he’s evidently turning into. He worked up quite a sweat and wouldn’t come in for hot chocolate until he was completely done. (See below. He didn’t get run over by a car or reindeer. He literally lay down to rest.)
I am pleasantly surprised by this side of him (the kind, empathic, hard-working side–not the one who sleeps on pavements). And I’m reminded that no matter how well you know someone, no matter how long or how intimately, he’s bound to surprise you at some point. In good ways and bad ways. I’m reminded we should always look for the good in people, to expect the unexpected. He may surprise you and rise to the occasion, or show he’s really been listening to all the lessons you’ve been teaching (read: nagging). You never know. I’m reminded we shouldn’t always assume we know who someone is, what he’ll do, or his motivations.
And I’m reminded there are many iterations of who we are. Through time we change. And there are many sides to us. I expected my son to behave like my son has behaved for the last 10 years. He sure showed me.
Then there’s his sister, who remained in the foyer for most of the morning. She meant to go outside to play so she geared up with her snow bib, hat, coat, gloves and boots. However, she picked a fight with both her gloves and her underwear. Sadly, after much screaming and many tears, she somehow managed to lose both fights. This is the girl I know. Sometimes there’s no surprise.
Yes, I think we are sometimes surprised because we’re looking back at what or who was, when we are actually all in a constant state of change. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could look beyond the predictability of patterns and discover the possibilities right before us? His mission is possible. And mission accomplished.
Yes, I agree–I think the yearning for/assumptions of predictability of patterns is the desire for certainty that is such a natural reflex for us. In the uncertainty and the constant change lies those possibilities! Again, you’re so much more eloquent than I! Thank you for fleshing that out more!!
It is natural, isn’t it? Predictable patterns help us to thrive. Still, if we make efforts to notice more, I think we’ll be happily surprised like you wrote of in this post. I don’t know about eloquent, but I am interested. How’s the snowfall? Is it manageable?
Yes, predictable patterns help us make sense of this world, but when we categorize things/people/expectations too rigidly, we lose sight of possibilities and we lose the wonder of the world… The snowfall here in the mid-Atlantic region is very manageable–it was a nice snowfall–enough for the kids to enjoy, and not bad enough to cause widespread panic! I thought of you yesterday actually. My son finally discovered the creek that runs behind our house, and he sat by it and meditated for hours. I was with him for a bit in the wooded lot and took some photos of nature–thought of you and your fantastic recent images!