â€œBe careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.â€ – Epictetus
My son couldn’t sleep last night.
While the outside temperatures in New England crept towards one hundred, inside our home it was a bit cooler. Heat or humidity was not the cause of his sleep disturbance.
Earlier in the day my son broke a neighbors home window. It was a small back porch window and it was clearly an accident. He was playing ball with his brother and three other children. He bounced the ball hard on the pavement, it flew up onto a porch, bounced again and hit a window.
As his brother and company stood by and went "OOOOH, you are in trouble", my son ran to our home to tell me.
He was in tears at the front door. His fair skinned freckled face was flushed a bright red and he was speaking rapidly.
"Mom, I broke a window at Mr. Nate’s house." he exclaimed.
"Okay, calm down. Lets go see what happened and talk to Mr. Nate" I replied.
I walked out onto the front porch, down the stairs and expected him to follow.
I turned around and saw him sobbing uncontrollably on the side of the porch.
"Come on, Nik, its okay. Lets go see". I urged.
He followed me to the back yard.
It was a small window. Part of the exterior porch/mudroom area on my neighbors multifamily home.
I asked him to explain what happened. I then asked all the three remaining children to tell me what they saw. All stories were the same.
I collected my youngest, told the other children it was time for my boys to come home and we had to go talk to Mr. Nate.
Mr. Nate was not home. Several ringings of his bell provided no results.
We walked back home and I instructed my son to write a note to Mr. Nate explaining what happened, offering his apology and telling him we would pay for the window.
Poor thing could barely write. I told him I would write my own note and if he wanted help, I could help him with his words.
"No, no, its okay Mom. I broke the window. I should apologize. It should be my words" Nik responded.
I smiled and walked into the kitchen musing over what an awesome son I have.
He finished the note and I wrote mine. Before I placed them both into a single envelope I read his.
"Dear. Mr. Nate.
I am very sorry I broke your back window. I was playing with Alex and my brother and bounced a ball too hard and it hit your porch and then your window. The glass just broke. My mom and I will pay for the fixing of it. I am very sorry. Love Nik"
He ended the note by providing his address (just in case the 90 yo man did not know who Nik was – even though we live next door) and also the emoticon of a sad smiley face. I doubt Mr. Nate will understand Net lingo but it made me smile none the less.
I had him bring the note over to Mr. Nate’s home and leave it in his mailbox.
He seemed fine when he got back. I commended him on his honesty, his nice note and assured him that accidents happen. I told him I was proud of how he handled it and that it was okay. We would take care of it with Mr. Nate in the morning.
I thought he was okay with it.
He could not sleep. His bedroom window looks out onto Mr. Nate’s home and even the porch. He couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Well past ten pm, I hear noise in his room and I investigate. I find him sitting up, in the dark, staring out the window.
"Nik, whats up, sweetie? Its late. You should be sleeping. Are you too hot to sleep?" I inquire.
"No, I am fine." he says quietly.
"What is wrong? Are you still upset about today?" I ask.
"Yeah" he whispers.
"Its okay, sweetie. I told you we would take care of it. I am sure Mr. Nate will be okay with it too." I say lovingly.
"But, Mah, he is like a 90 year old man. I just made more work for him. I don’t think he can even fix that window himself." he says through a deep sob.
I start to cry. I am thankful it is dark in his room. I don’t want him to see me cry and assume something is wrong.
Nothing is wrong. I am just that deeply struck by my amazing, sensitive son.
"Well, then maybe you can help him? Maybe if we hire someone to fix it you can help that person. Will that make you feel better?" I offer.
"Yeah, I would like that" he responds.
I hug him from behind, kiss his bare warm shoulder and tell him to go to sleep.
I leave his room, still choked up, loving my son more than words could ever say.