Sweet Oakley

Oh these children of mine. I spend so much time with them, it’s easy to grow frustrated and exasperated and weary. My heart still carries wounds and scars and a heaviness sits on me most of the time. I see these precious years slipping away from me and I know they will soon be lost and I will have used them up having carried a weight around that I just want to shake off.

But every once in a while, there is something that melts a little bit of that off.

Oakley. He is full of mischief and ingenuity. He is impetuous and full throttle. He makes trouble sometimes on purpose and sometimes not; either way, trouble seems to follow him anyway. But he can be the sweetest bowl of sugar you’ve ever come across at the same time.

Dinner was almost ready. Oakley was still upstairs sleeping his nap away. It has been a busy week and he’s extra tired. Waking Oakley up takes time, especially when he’s tired and doesn’t want to wake up.

I head upstairs. He is curled up on his side, those long black eye lashes resting on his cheeks. I crawl in bed beside him, rub his back and whisper his name into his ear.

“Oakley. Oakley, Baby, time to wake up. Are you ready to wake up?”

He opens one eye and gives me a little look.

“Noooo.” And the eye closes again.

Still rubbing his back, “Oakley…do you need some kisses?”

And to that question, eyes still closed, he gets the sweetest smile on his face and gives a little nod. And then my heart melts.

I bend over and smother him in kisses, knowing there is only so long that I will be able to do so.

He gives a little giggle. However, it’s not the kisses that get him out of bed, but the realization that Ava is down stairs watching a video. But that little moment I tuck away to remember.

A few days ago, we had chili for dinner. I have two soup bowls that I made with friends, on two separate occasions at one of those paint-your-own pottery places, many, many years ago. The bowls connect me to memories of dear, dear friends and a sweet time of life. Since there are only two, Jeff and I always use the bowls and Ava and Oakley get different ones. After dinner, somehow Oakley was messing around with my bowl, it dropped and broke into pieces. I saw the pieces lying on the floor, and I told myself it was only a bowl. But now I would never have the set again and the thought of losing a memory hurt my heart. I made Oakley go upstairs and sit on his bed, which made him know I wasn’t happy. And he cried.

Tonight at prayer time, Oakley pulled his own name out of the prayer box. He got to pray first.

“Lord, hewlp Oakie sad… Mama’s gwass boke.”

This is the condensed version. It sometimes takes a few tries for Oakley to get his thoughts out but this was the jist of it. He was sad, because Mama’s glass had broken. I didn’t understand what he was talking about at first, and then I remembered. I pulled him into my arms and told him I forgave him. He then continued:

“Lord, help Mama happy… and she beautiful…I wuv Mama… and be happy and healthy.”

If I could have recorded that prayer, oh how I wish I could have. That he even remembered the bowl breaking and to pray about it… such a little guy, yet he made me feel so loved tonight.

I hope you read this someday Oakley. You are sugar and spice. You have a kind heart. How I love you baby.

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