Monday, November 16, 2009

Somebody's Watching...Who's Listening?

When I was a new mom I often imagined being watched. The adoption process requires jumping through a lot of hoops, proving you're worthy, and otherwise impressing everyone from lawyers, to pregnant teens, to county employees with your perfect parent potential. Not necessarily a foolproof system; not the way God does it; just the way it is. Perhaps the fact that we were forcibly put under this microscope made me more self-conscious than most new moms.

My imagination was not so far fetched to conjure up a birthmother stalking us from behind the bushes at a local park eyeing my way with her offspring or peeping in our condo windows confirming her choice as she saw my affectionately winning ways with twins. (I've never told anyone this; November must be true confession month.) Being scrutinized and having to earn my stripes, probably made me a better mom.

My niece just moved in with us to embrace the California lifestyle. In short order, she has improved our quality of life substantially. I will be bummed when she makes enough friends to get her own apartment. She must be exhausted playing as many roles as she does to each member of our family. Being 25 years old puts her smack in the middle of the proverbial generation gap. She is a motivational novelty like none other for Reid. Her cheerful, empathetic interest in his day livens up our dinner conversation more than candlelight. She has become the namesake for his new favorite trampoline maneuver: dance dance revolution Kat-style!

Kat and Allie are like sisters neither one of them has had. She drives a convertible Beetle (way cooler than mom) and shares her hip wardrobe as readily as a personal shopper at Nordstrom's. Her memory of high school and college are still vivid enough to shed light. Her life choices are happening in real time for Allie to witness.

Actually, she is old enough, wise enough and foodie enough to be a lot like the sister I never had too! Having Kathryn here means that I am no longer alone with my thoughts. We were constant companions during the first weeks when she was unemployed and without wheels. Wanting to be sociable, apparently I began to say things out loud to her that had previously been left unsaid (or at least unheard). She would compliment, ""Your internal monologue is hilarious. You're cracking me up, I can't stand it, stop...." Who knew? I never thought of myself as that funny. She is at once a mirror, a sounding board, and an audience. Oh my goodness, she just told me she loves to iron! Jackpot, I tell you. Having a confidante and adoring fan is (in my humble opinion), making me a better writer.

Arguably, we all have an internal monologue of some sort; a conversation that goes on inside our head that others (usually) do not hear. In Reid's extroverted case, it is there for all to hear. Allow me to introduce another character in his repertoire of all-time favorites. Drum roll please......Allie-in-the-tummy. Although she has not been immortalized on the silver screen or merchandised to the hilt, she is precious to us and critical to his well being.

When she first arrived, it seemed Reid was talking to himself. Jim would correct, "Allie is upstairs, Reid. Go up there so she can hear you." He rebuffed, "No, not the real Allie, Allie-in-the-tummy." Or more directly, "Quiet! I'm talking to Allie," as if we had no manners at all.

At second glance, this talking to an imaginary person was slightly disturbing, especially given that he holds both sides of the conversation.

R: "No, Allie I don't want to do's hard. I can't" (with real tears)
A-i-t-T: "Well, you have to Reid. Mom said. I know you can do it. You're a smart boy. I'll help you...come on..."
R: "Ok Allie. You're right."

Another time during the flow of homework, we overheard this adoring dialogue:

A-i-t-T:"Reid, you look so cute in that picture."
R: "I know Allie but let's get back to work."

Allie-in-the-tummy has a slightly higher intonation and is always patient, wise, loving, and encouraging. She accompanies him to school, on the bus and to bed. Like Jiminy Cricket, she helps discern right from wrong. (I just learned that Jiminy Cricket was originally a euphemistic expletive to replace taking Jesus' (J.C.) name in vain. Ironic.

At third glance, it may seem like a twin thing, a residual of twin talk that developed when they separated for a large chunk of the day at different schools. At fourth glance (and believe me I 've pondered it more than 4 times), it is healthy self-talk, way more pertinent than any counsel or cognitive behavior theory the school psychologist may give him.

Having a readily available guide helps Reid make better choices. Furthermore, hearing his thought process helps me to understand his internal struggles and the function of some of his behavior.

So it is that I have ultimately landed on the spiritual application. Allie-in-the-tummy is akin to the voice of the Holy Spirit any of us might hear whispering in our right ear--advising, convicting, spurring us on to do good. In keeping with the character of God the Father, the Spirit's nature is faithful, upright, pure, of good repute, fair, forgiving, and tender. The opposite of the enemy's voice, His is also distinct from our own sinful human nature. We would do well to follow Reid's example, quiet ourselves, "take a minute" (as defined in his Behavior Intervention Plan) and listen for that still small voice.

Having the Holy Spirit to instruct us, makes us more like Christ.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12

Your ear
s will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:20-22

"My sheep hear
My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; John 10:26-28

1 comment:

  1. Yes, if only we would listen to the Spirit the way Reid listens to A-i-t-T. How sad that we ignore such a gift.

    I'm so glad you all have Kat.

    Is Allie flattered that A-i-t-T is named after her?