Friday, March 3, 2017

Lessons learned the hard way

From Feb.24th
Write about a lesson you've learned the hard way

Read this first, please, and then come back and read the rest.

I was trying to find things for my 7 year old grandson to eat that wouldn't hurt his sore throat or rather food that would feel more soothing on his sore throat.
Vanilla ice cream, Popsicles, mashed potatoes, chicken noodle soup, maybe scrambled eggs.
I wanted to get him settled down on the couch with his breakfast and cartoons so Grandpa, who was also home sick, wouldn't have too much to do while I made a quick trip to the grocery store.
"What about applesauce?" I asked him.
YES! he replied. Ok good, great. I've got applesauce.
Except I didn't. Not the kind he liked. What I had was pear flavored applesauce. It mostly tasted like regular applesauce, to me anyway.  I can fool him, I thought, but he's gonna notice the color difference, so I figured if I put it in a red dish he wouldn't be able to see the opaque green color.
Here's how it went down-
ME: Here ya go Sweetie, want granny to feed it to you?
HIM: No, I can do it myself...why is it in that red bowl?
ME: I thought it would be nice to eat it out of this cute lil bowl
HIM: Wait...why is it that color?
ME: What color? It just looks different because of the red bowl. Here, try a bite.
HIM: he tries a bite....It tastes funny granny.
ME: No it doesn't.
HIM: Yes it does. And it's green.
ME: It tastes the same as regular applesauce!
HIM: No it doesn't. Can't I have regular applesauce?
ME: Try another bite. You'll like it!
HIM: No! I don't like green applesauce.
ME: Won't you please try it again? Please?
HIM: Noooooo.
ME: (I stare at him, sigh really big, and then say...) You make me sad.
      then I grabbed the red bowl of green colored pear flavored applesauce and left the room, went to the kitchen and chucked it in the sink...bowl, spoon, everything splattering in the sink and heaved out another big sigh.  I took it personally and I don't have any idea why.
I gave myself a few seconds to cool down then headed back to the living room.
When I walked in he was sitting at their little tikes table with his head down and he was sobbing.
"What're ya crying about", I asked non too gently still peeved about that stupid fucking applesauce.
He lifted his head and quietly sobbed out these 5 words-

He could hardly look at me as he uttered those words about hisself. I could see him trying to hide his face in his arms while he continued to cry out his hurt and shame. Over applesauce.

And just like that I broke.
I started to cry myself and I dropped to my knees next to him and grabbed his little face and said-
"Oh sweetie, you don't have to feel shame cuz you didn't want to eat that applesauce. Granny is so very sorry that she made you feel bad about that. Granny was wrong to do that to you."
 I hugged him as tight as I could, whispering the whole time that I was soooo sorry.

It took him a few minutes to get hold of himself and I hugged him while he, while we, finished letting our tears fall.
I mopped both of our faces, gave him a kiss and an orange popsicle and told him I was going to the store to buy him REAL applesauce.

I cried all the way to the store. What kind of a monster am I ?? Why did I do that to him?
Grandmothers are supposed to be sweet and kind and loving.
What the hell was wrong with me??
I found I wanted to hide my own face so I too didn't have to see my own shame filled flaws.

Once inside the store I found myself putting cookies and cereal and chocolate bars and mac&cheese and lots of applesauce in my cart. His favorite juice boxes, and pudding cups and hot dogs...all his favorite foods. As if buying him food was going to make up for the damage I had inflicted upon him.

 Today I found that story that I referenced above on a blog that I follow.
And it just about did me in.
I don't want to break that beautiful boys spirit. I don't want to be the one who takes away his shine.
The author states this at the end of her story-

The following vow is something I wish I’d made a few years ago—but perhaps it’s right on time for you. Perhaps it’s right on time for us all; I can’t help but believe our world could use a little softening right now.
Perhaps, in time, we’ll be able to look at ourselves and each other and say, 
“I love you just the way you are,” the way God loves us.
Perhaps instead of witnessing pain and condemnation in public and private places, we will see love and compassion in action.
Let it begin with us.

My Vow to Soften
I’ve had enough of my hard edges. I’m tired of straining my voice.
I’d like to loosen up and laugh a little more, be positive rather than negative.
I’d like to feel the upward curve of my lips.
I’d like to surrender control of things over which I have no control.
I’d like to let things unfold in their own time, in their own way.
I’d like to participate joyfully in this fleeting life.
I’d like to be softer
toward him,
toward her,
toward me.
Thus, this begins the process of my softening.
And this is my vow:
I vow to listen to opinions – I don’t always have to be right.
I don’t always have to agree or have the last word.
I vow to hand over the hairbrush, the pile of laundry, the school project,
the task before me. “How would you do it?” I will ask.
I vow to step aside and respect a new approach.
Success might be difficult to see at first; I vow to keep looking.
I vow to be more accepting of quirks, mannerisms, and differences.
I vow to be more accepting of tastes and styles unlike my own.
I vow to remember he is in the process of becoming; she is in the process of finding her way. And they are more apt to do it if I stop telling them how.
I vow to regard “weaknesses” as unripened strengths.
Inner gifts can be nurtured when I stop plotting ways to alter, change, and “improve.”
I vow to greet my family and myself with a loving smile,
no matter what happened yesterday.
I vow to pause before correcting.
I shall take a moment to consider if the mistake even needs to be mentioned at all.
I vow to be a voice of encouragement in a demeaning world.
I vow to be a silver lining spotter in my family’s little world.
I vow to be softer today than I was yesterday—a softer voice, a softer posture, a softer touch, a softer thought, a softer timetable.
By being softer, I can hear more, learn more, feel more, and love more.
At last I will fully see his colors, her colors, and my own.
Perhaps it will be for the very first time.
The colors might take my breath away,
bring me to tears,
or offer long-awaited peace.
I shall soften in order to illuminate the colors of the soul.
I shall soften so the human being within me and beside me can shine.

Yes, please, dear God. Let it begin with me.
Only Love Today.
Today and every day.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly


  1. Lolly, I am reading this on my iPod and it takes forever to leave a comment. I will come back tomorrow on a different device and leave a comment on this touching post.

  2. I remember when my son was small and he wouldn't eat most meals I prepared. He was just a little guy. One time I freaked out. I yelled. I threw his Winnie the Pooh plate so hard i to the sink that I broke it. And I went one step further. I spanked him. Oh, Lolly. It was awful. I was in a rage. I was out of control. My son was and still is so gentle and sensitive and I not only hurt him by spanking him, I hurt his gentle little soul as well. To this day I feel so terrible about it. He didn't deserve any of it. It's food. But I learned a lot from that experience. I never lost it to that extreme again. I learned huge lessons about patience and about what was really important. I learned that it wasn't about him not eating. It was about me. I was going through a divorce and his dad was the most picky eater I had ever known. I hated him (my ex) for that. I would make beautiful meals that he either would not eat at all or put f-I got ketchup on it. See? I'm still angry about it. I did apologize to my son. And I have apologized since even though he doesn't remember.
    We go through these times when we can hurt and cause such pain to those we love. We are a step ahead of most when we can admit it, apologize and learn from it.
    Bless your grandsons' heart. His words brought tears to my eyes. Wrap him up in your arms and let him know he is important and loved. He and you will be okay.