Brothers and their Sisters

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply… ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

The back pack was rather light. I had expected oodles of paperwork and end of year artwork and supplies to be sent home. There were no such items.

I queried my son on this and he indicated that he had been bringing things home gradually over the past few weeks.

One item that I did find was a “heart map”. It was a large piece of white contruction paper cut into the shape of heart. Drawn on the heart were a number of lines that dissected the heart into what appeared to be small pie shaped slices.  Inside each slice was a small picture and a description. I asked my son what it was. He told me about the heart map concept and that every item noted in the heart was something that was really important to him and deep inside his heart.

I scanned the drawings and labels.

  • New York Rangers
  • the trip to Boston
  • Having a brother
  • Philadelphia
  • and more

The slices went around in a circle until I got to the last one

  • hearing I had a sister.

My throat constricted. I said that was very sweet. He shrugged his tween shrug and ignored me. I sat on the couch and continue to ponder how deeply my son has been touched by his absent sister.

We retired around 9:30 to our beds. He was excited it was the first night of school vacation and that he was able to stay up late. I tucked him into his bed and returned to my room to read. I recently picked up Letters to Life by Rainier Maria Rilke and I was anxious to get to it.

A few minutes into Rilke my son knocks on my door and says he cannot sleep. He asks if he can come and talk to me.  I welcome him in. He notes the books on my night stand and asks what they are.

I share with him the plot of Wuthering Heights. We discuss Crime and Punishment and the Rilke book I am reading. He picks up my copy of Billy Collins The Trouble with Poetry. He tells me that he thought it was a book he read in school, also a book of poetry only it was about a Bear.  (The Collins book has a bear on the cover).  I tell him that I recently purchased that book because Billy Collins is his sisters favorite poet and I was curious what she liked and why. I inform him that Billy Collins is a two term Poet Laureate. I explain to him what Poet Laureate is.

He tells me he hates poetry.  Well, he doesn’t hate it but it was boring to do in school this year. He rambles on about his teacher and her approach to teaching poetry.

He picks up the book, flips it open and reads to me, in its entirety, one of the poems. I am moved to tears. I am a literary nut. I love writing, books and poetry. My nine year old has been struggling with reading and writing since kindergarten. Here he is, in front of me, reciting Billy Collins.

To have my nine year old son, read Billy Collins to me, his absent sisters favorite poet, is beyond my wildest dreams on so many levels.

I have the most amazing children.

2 Thoughts.

  1. Should have been a tissue warning on this post. Your children are amazing. Thank you for sharing things like this with us… they speak to parts of me that I don’t quite yet understand.
    That said: Billy Collins, good? I’m neeing some new poetry.

  2. Oh my what can I say? Yes our children are amazing, all of them. The one we raise and the ones we lost, whether we have them in our lives or not. I wish you had had what I have. I wish and wish and still what we have is so very different. I pray to my gods (and goddesses) that someday you will have what your heart most desires. J and I have our problems, you know that, we work hard, what I hope for you is this, that someday you and she will work hard the same way J and I do. To learn about each other, to grow and go beyond the loss to a place where what is, just is. I can think of no other thing I could wish for you more. I love you Suz with all my heart..
    Mary

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