Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Thursday, March 6, 2014

10-13-13 RMB Hero

10-13-13 RMB Hero

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Today is a Sunday. I don’t know why, after writing these letters, several a week, month after month, it suddenly seems important to indicate the day of the week, yet it seems pertinent.  

The eldest of my Nephew Trio collects rubber bracelets in a variety of colors with numerous sayings on them. This collection is what matters most to him at the moment. So this collection is what he lost in today’s disciplinary action for being disrespectful. He sat in time out. He did his writing, letters of apology, the IF poem and such. He sat quietly listening to me lecture, all the while his walls clearly surrounding him, blocking my efforts to reach him. But he did his time and paid the price of his actions.
I dropped him off at his house, where his mom greeted us at my car. This woman, who spent nearly two decades as a police officer, who fostered children and adopted three with her “wife”, is my hero. And the reason she is my hero is multiple, because she worked to keep our streets safe, she took in those in need, she faced prejudice from the community she protected, as well as the family she was born into, and returned that prejudice with kindness, forgiveness and a willingness to include, any with a willing spirit, from that same community and that same family, into her own family. Above all, she is my hero because of her understanding of that four letter word I so struggle with, love.

She approached us with open arms for her son, the son that had disrespected her earlier that same day, enough to merit punishment, the son with a heart torn by circumstances beyond her control from years prior to their years together. He accepted the embrace and rested his head just below her shoulder, still maintaining his thick wall that is present, in nearly every embrace, with everyone.

I watched her shower words of love over him, explaining “You are my son and I love you no matter what. No matter what you say or how mad you get. I am still your mom and I still love you.” She held him as and words flowed from her heart. In just a few moments, I watched her accomplish what I had been working to do, unsuccessfully, for over an hour. She reached him. His arms relaxed and tears threatened to spill. He hugged her back, really hugged her.

I mistakenly thought my contribution was to guide the child, to show him the error of his ways and impart wisdom for a better way to handle his own emotions in the future. My well thought out dialogue and disciplinary tasks were a mere buffer, allowing son and mother time apart to cool down, to gain perspective.

Ultimately, what he needed, more than punishment, more than a lecture, was a mother’s love. And when I delivered him home, it was there at the ready for him.

Honored to witness it,


No comments:

Post a Comment