Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I live in an old, old house.
I love it, but things break.
A lot.
A couple of weeks ago, the lock on the front door stopped working.
And it was a teeny bit of a problem.
When I went to bed, the lock worked.
Not great, a little sticky, but ok.
When I got up the next morning, I couldn't get the door open.
At all.
And we had to go out the back door,
through the gate,
and down the steps.
(or climb out the dining room window).
And so I called a locksmith.
He came the next afternoon when the boys were home.
My son called to tell me the locksmith said the lock was worn out and needed to be replaced.
I paid him over the phone.
I had class that night and didn't get home until much later than usual, after 8.
The old lock was sitting on the corner of the dining room table
in about ten assorted pieces.
I meant to throw it out.
But I didn't do it that night.
The next night when I came home, the lock was still on the table.
But it was reassembled.
Totally put together.
I was not surprised.

Son #1 is a kinesthetic learner.
He loves, loves, loves to put things together.
He struggled and struggled and struggled through school.
Barely a C average.
Partially proficient on every standardized test he ever took.
Right now he is working in the fuel department of a grocery store.
That's code for he sits in one of those little gas stands
outside of a grocery store and takes your money.
It's not a great job.
In fact, I think it sounds boring
and tedious
and lonely
and pretty awful.
And every night I worry that he will get shot.
Or killed by a drunk driver on the way home.
But at least he is doing something.
He goes to work every day.
He pays his car payment and insurance and phone.
He handles his responsibilities.

Still, I wonder what would have happened
if I had done a better job
at finding a school
that fit him.
That marveled at his kinesthetic mind
and "putting together" talents.
Instead of always
evaluating him
through the lens
books and words
and essays.
And all the other things
that he is not.

I wonder what he would be doing right now.


Maria said...

Your slice tugs at my heart. As a mom, no matte the circumstances of our children, we always wonder. I believe it is a natural and sometimes irritating tug on our heartstrings. I love that you didn't throw the lock away especially since your son had the opportunity to put it back together. I'm thinking that old lock is analogy for another slice.

Bernadette said...

He is young and hopefully his life will be long and he will find a path that will be be more fitting to his abilities.

Margaret Simon said...

The thing that stood out for me was that YOU noticed that he is a kinesthetic learner. Don't discount the value in that. He knows he is loved for who he is by you. That's gold!

elsie said...

Carol, it's still not too late. He can find his place in the world, but he needs to discover his passion. That is what makes a difference, I speak from experience.

Kimberley Moran said...

Powerful words Carol. There is so much we can do as teachers and mothers if we see them for their strengths. He is lucky to be loved by you. Perhaps a job where he puts things together might be the next shift in his life.

Linda B said...

What a gift he has, and you have me thinking. I don't know what he likes, but my daughter-in-law's brother never went to college, but started working at a garage, then went to mechanics school. He too can put things together amazingly, and now works on big rigs. It's been a journey. I hope others can see the talents he has, Carol.

Stacey Shubitz said...

We can try to point our kids in the direction we want, but ultimately it is their choice where they land up. He is still young and has lots of years ahead of him. I know you will be there to guide him towards a school (or a different career) when he's ready. Eventually others will see what he has to offer, Carol.

Miss Murphy said...

This is beautiful. And so poignant. It raises some important questions about schools and assessment and teaching and learning and everything.

Your son is lucky to have you. I hope he finds a path that will nurture his talents.

Tara said...

He has you, his mama who knows what he can do...and has faith in him. He will find his way, Carol.

Karen said...

Carol - as always, your "mom" posts make me very reflective. Being a mom comes with asking the tough questions about what is best for your child. As one of my daughters is currently searching for what's next for her, the worry in your tone matches my mood each day recently. How wonderful that your son has your support.

Carrie Gelson said...

What a tender and vulnerable piece that speaks to all of the worries and wonders of motherhood.

Mary Lee said...

It's not too late, is it?