She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

The Kitchen Floor Chat

on May 29, 2012

Who knew that the kitchen floor would be the place for a monumental conversation?

Kate hopped out of bed one night recently. I was puttering in the kitchen and she plopped herself down on the floor.  I don’t know what stopped me from firmly giving the stay-in-bed-lecture. I stopped what I was doing instead, thankfully, and sat down beside her.

Maybe I intuitively knew what was coming.

Kate:  I wish Ryan didn’t have any special needs.

(THUD…Did you hear my heart just pierce?)

Me:  So do I, Kate.   What makes you say that?

Kate:  It makes me sad.

Me: That is ok to feel sad.  It makes me sad, too, sometimes. (Darnit, then my tears start rolling…)

Kate:  I wish it was a secret between our family and the school.

(Note:  Ryan goes to a separate public elementary school from Luke and Kate, one that better suits his needs.)

Me:  Are you embarrassed sometimes Kate?

Kate:  (No answer. At first, she was silent with this question.)

Kate:  I just wish nobody knew. That it was a secret.

Me:  Well, in our family, we don’t keep secrets.  Not unless someone has a surprise gift or surprise party. (Why I said this instead of just asking her if anyone said anything to her at school escapes me.)

Me:  Its perfectly ok, Kate, to feel that way.  Mom and Dad wish Ryan didn’t have ANY problems or struggles.  We wish he was totally healthy, that his brain and body were not different from yours.  Its ok to get sad, mad or frustrated, or embarrassed about it. We get sad, too.

At this point Chris chimed in and joined the kitchen floor party.

Chris:  You know what, Kate? You are also kind of lucky to have Ryan as your brother.  And he is so lucky to have you and Luke.

Kate’s eyes widened and she said, “Really?”

Chris:  You will grow up to be such a sweet girl, with such a big caring heart.

Me:  And you will be an even better mommy and wife someday because you learned so much from being a sister to Ryan.

Kate:  I will???? (Big smile.)

Me:  Yes, absolutely you will.  God gave Ryan to our family, and even though its hard sometimes, we will all be better people, and nicer, stronger, and have more compassion. (At least I hope so…I think to myself.)

So I stood up from the hard kitchen floor and helped Kate get up.  We meandered to her room, hand in hand, slowly.  I tucked her in and kissed her sweet cheeks over and over.

As I walked away, I prayed silently, for Kate and Luke, to be spared any long-term anger issues, or any resentment or bitterness, from having a disabled brother, and a unique family story.  May they not grow up feeling overburdened or neglected in any way.  May they grow up to be people of compassion and patience, kindness and wisdom.  May they truly know that God is good and faithful and loving even if He allows hardships and hard circumstances in life.

Lord, that is my prayer.

9 responses to “The Kitchen Floor Chat

  1. Lisa says:

    And…Luke, Ryan and Kate are blessed to have you and Chris for their parents. May God bless you all!

  2. Liz says:

    As they say “out of the mouths of babes”… Such honesty, love , and compassion. You and Chris are definitely raising GOOD kids.

  3. Gina says:

    It’s all in the little moments…great parenting, Jess.

  4. Marisa says:

    I have to tell you that Jake said to me this past week, “Luke Patay is probably the nicest friend I have”….I told Jake that Luke is such a special kid because he lives with God in his heart every day and he has a family that is a blessing in so many ways. Ryan is a gift to us all, as are each of your extraordinary children. Know that it is noticed, you are loved beyond measure, and the good in your hearts will always outweigh any negativity that may arise….. Thank you for being the wonderful example you lead for us all!!!!

  5. KIrsten Hanson says:

    JESS! Just read this to Noah and Matt. Matt teared up and said, “That’s beautiful.” and Noah said, “She SHOULD be a writer!”. To which I replied, “She IS a writer.” Thank you for sharing such an intimate picture into your life and journey with Luke, Ryan and Kate and Chris. I am proud to call you “friend”,

  6. Suzie Lind says:

    Such a sweet moment. God’s grace is endless for each one.

  7. What a beautiful, well-written post! We even teared up a little bit!

    We just had to share this with our fans on Facebook.

    Thought you and your readers might like to check it out:

  8. Deanne says:

    Jess- all I can say is Wow! What a teachable moment that God provided to you and Chris. I know who to call when I need some parenting advice. Thank you for sharing your life with us all. I appreciate your honesty! Love, Dee

  9. I can’t help but be honest, and hope and pray that it touches and inspires and helps others as they mother, too. Thx for reading Dee!

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