It is 2:39 in the morning on the day after spit landed solidly on my favorite J.Crew sweater. Spit that also found it’s target in the middle of my face finding it’s way into my mouth. Wet bodily fluids that I feel on my cheeks and chin. I cringe. I cringe a lot. I try not to think of what might be in that spit. I know I don’t want to know. I take a deep breath and I ask him, “Are you ready?” He responds with another spray of spit. Direct hit again. I wipe my face. I Stand up and take another breath. I wait. He stands and we begin to walk only to have him drop to his knees again. My friend and colleague waits on the other side of this little one who is only five years old. We both let out an audible sigh. It is Monday. It is a Monday after a four day break. Good for us. Apparently not so good for him. I kneel down and ask again, “Are you ready?” His spit finds my face for the third time and this time I fight back anger. I feel it churning in my gut struggling and wanting it’s way out. I want to let it come rip roaring out fast and furious, but I also know that would be a mistake. Another deep breath. A Lesson learned. I’ll stay clear of this little one’s spit range.
We, three, proceed down the hall and find a room where he can get it back together. However, he doesn’t get it back together any time soon. More spitting landing on walls, chairs, desk and my dear colleague. My comrade in arms. Little one decides that kicking should begin along with a plethora of colorful vocabulary. I learn that I am a dumb ass and a mother f***er. I find my voice and some humor and let him know that my mom is at home and that I’m actually pretty smart. I also want to tell him, as a speech therapist, how to correctly say mother because he is substituting the /f/ for /th/. His ability to correctly produce the /f/ sound though is making the second word sound just perfect. I wisely decide I should just be quiet. I do though at one point ask him what those words mean. His silence back let’s me know that he doesn’t know. He is only repeating what has been heard. He is only expressing what has been expressed and I find my bearings again.
I am reminded then and now that the power of words, emotions, and actions can travel two ways in these moments that matter. We get to choose each day which way we send them. Will they tear down, split apart, cut in two, clobber, maim, degrade, marginalize or will they build bridges, produce kindness, heal, glorify, encourage, offer joy, and support justice? I hope I choose wisely and take the help from the One who tells me; I watch over you and stand beside you as your protective shade. I am really hoping that protective shade includes a great big face shield.
Joy Today and Always.