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My Saint In Training

alec vanderboom

Okay, so Alexander and I are having some challenges this summer. At 3 1/2 he's not a little baby, but he's not yet a "big kid". We're having the epic struggle over the milestone that starts with a P and ends with a Y. He can swim on his on, but insists on being carried home from the pool. Most day's Alex is decent at Daily Mass. Yesterday, he surprised me by start a game of chase up and down the entire length of the church. (You know you're a Catholic when you think "Alex, just kneel at the Tabernacle as you race past and I'll forgive you from making this gigantic spectacle during this quiet moment of Pre-Mass prayer.) Alex didn't remember to kneel at the Tabernacle during our impromptu game of tag. However, there is hope for the boy because.....

Today, we had two boys over to play at our house. The 4 year old and 2 year old could not stop playing with the Mac Truck (from the Disney Car movie). As they were leaving, both boys started crying loudly for more time with Mac!!!!

Hannah said, "go ahead and borrow Mac."

"Oh Wait!" I said. I meet the eyes of the mother. "I'm so sorry, but you'll have to ask Alex. It's his favorite thing to sleep with each night & I'm just worried he won't really realize it's gone, gone and so tonight we'll have a giant cry feast."

"I totally understand," this level headed Mom said. "When you let your favorite toys go, it's just heartache on both sides."

At this point, as the Mom starts to physically detangle Mac from the vice-grip of her sons, Alex walks up and says "you can have Mac."

"Oh no, Alex, he's yours. My boys will be find," the Mom said.

"Take him home, the boys like him." Alex says.

At this point the frantic eyes of both Mom's meet again.
"It's okay. I'll take Mac now, but I'll leave him here," the experienced Mom answers.

So visiting Mom exits with 2 crying boys. After we walk them to the car and wave goodbye, we come back inside.

"I gave them Mac" Alex starts saying to himself.
"What are you talking about?" Hannah asks.
"They were crying so I let them borrow my Mac?"
"What are you about brother?" Hannah asks. She's pointing to the brilliant red truck sitting on our kitchen counter.

Alex looks at the truck. Thinks for a moment, then he explodes into tears.

"What is wrong?" I ask.
"I wanted to share, but those boys didn't take Mac! Why didn't like my Mac, Mom?"
At this point, I'm stumped. (I do not have visiting Mom's calmness or clarity of mind. "Should I go chase after them to give them Mac?" I ask.
"Yes," he said.

So I go to get my shoes out of the closet and think, where can I stash Mac until tonight. In the shoe closet?
Hannah sees me by the door, "were they already gone, Mom?"
'Um," I start to think of a lie, but can't. I look at Alex who's about to get overswept by tears again."
Do you really want me give this to them."

So out I go, into our apartment parking lot. Our visitors are still there. I come out holding a Mac truck. The visiting Mom starts to wave me away.
"They've already stopped crying, they are fine."
I shook my head. "You don't understand. My son is crying now. He really, really wants your boys to borrow it."
"We'll take good care of it, " and the visiting Mom holds this little piece of plastic with gingerly with both hands.
"Don't worry about it," I shrug. "Whatever happens we'll be fine. I just can't believe he's so willing to part with it."
"You are doing something right," she nods as she rolls up her window.

I had that whole walk back to the apartment to think. It's a short, short walk. Yet it felt long. My little guy. He's growing up. He might be racing around the tabernacle in the morning. Yet Jesus is still getting into that little heart and making it grow.

Thank you Alex for showing me the meaning of true charity. I love you!