Column: Ties that bind


Commentary by Heather Kestian

Every now and again, in a fit of being upset, our dear little person may say that he wishes he was living with someone else. It is usually a friend who he thinks has fewer rules, does not have to brush his teeth, or does not have to put his toys away. If only he could live with that friend, life would be better. Yes, dear. You still need to clean up and you might want to do that task fairly soon.

Recently, we had an “a-ha” moment with this dear one. He had asked to stay with his grandparents once again over winter break. Sure thing, dear! Life with only one child is, well, a little bit less hectic. And he gets to be the center of attention for a week. It is a win-win for everyone.

Until, of course, he is watching Tarzan and gets to the point in the movie where Tarzan does not get to go home. And the uncontrollable sobbing begins because he missed his family. No amount of talking to us was going to help him see we would come back later in the week.

Of course we went and picked him up and the relief upon him seeing us was clear. He was home again. He could articulate why he wanted to be home and immediately saw the value in this lesson. We are his people and he is our people.

There is safety in knowing where you belong and getting to be there. And while he was with his family where he was, he missed his parents and his brother more than he thought was possible. I hope he remembers this moment before he says something unkind or in retaliation for having to do chores at some point in the future. This memory may fade in his brain, but I will bring it up every chance I get. It will likely sound like: “remember that time you actually missed us and were so sad that we were not with you that you had us come pick you up early? I sure do enjoy reliving that memory! Can you put your clothes away now?”