I Love You Bananas and Mayonnaise

P1010293I hate bananas.  I mean hate them.  I can smell someone eating a banana across a cafeteria and it can ruin my lunch.  I would never willingly touch one if I can help it.  And the sound that they make when someone is eating one…it sounds….moist.  And mushy.  And all together disgusting.

The only other food smells I would classify as disgusting are fish and mayonnaise.  Fish smells make me gag, and as a policy, I won’t eat anything that once lived in water.  I don’t trust seafood restaurants (how do I KNOW the chicken didn’t touch the fish??).  I will even tell people I have a seafood allergy if the place looks shady.

And the smell of mayonnaise, it about does me in.  Pungently putrid, I can tell if someone’s sandwich has mayonnaise on it as soon as they crack the Ziploc bag open.  I won’t eat a white sauce or dip at a party for fear of getting a big dollop of mayo.  I’ve made sandwiches with it before, and I have to breathe through my mouth to get through it.

But I love Soccer Boy and want him to know how much I care about him.  So I buy him bananas and mayonnaise.  When I think of sacrificial love, I think about him wandering through my house with his banana-hands, stinking up my trash with his peels, dripping mayo on a table or counter where I have to clean it up.

You’ve probably heard “I love you to the moon and back.”  Well, I love him bananas and mayonnaise.

Today was a good day.  The best one so far.  We didn’t do much…videospēle (of course!), a quick trip to Walmart, bowling, ice cream, and a walk to the park after dinner.

But he was engaged.

And today he started singing.

If you don’t know our house well, you probably aren’t aware that we sing.  All. The. Time.  We don’t sing well, but we sing often.  We sing through our chores, we sing to each other across the house, and I even sing when I yell—it’s because we don’t sing actual songs, we sing our conversations.  It’s like our own little opera.  If I’m mad, I sing (one cannot yell when one is singing…it helps, really!).  If I’m happy, I sing.  If I’m tired of hearing complaining, I sing because Little Man always answers me back in song (one also cannot complain in an annoying manner when it is in song).

Soccer Boy started singing today as well.  In English!  Perhaps he feels comfortable enough to sing now.  We were treated to “Mr. Bombastic” by Shaggy; “I’m a Supermodel” by Avril Lavigne; and “Baby” by Justin Beiber.

I think that he’s getting more comfortable in a lot of other ways as well.P1010341

He called the dog by name a lot.  The wrong name, but a name nonetheless.

He kept saying Little Man’s name over and over.  And over and over.  Really, to the point of annoyance, so much so that Little Man stood there and did it back to him, machine-gun fashion to try to annoy him back.  Soccer Boy thought it was pretty awesome.  So did I.

He has not said my name yet (he just grunts or taps me).  But that’s okay.  Naming has so much power.  Naming gives that thing you name value.  And power.  It connects you, and it cannot be taken back.   When he names me, he will be telling me that he cares about me, that I am important to him.  That’s a big step.  It means being vulnerable.  And it means being hurt because you are loving something that will be gone from you in a short time.

And I don’t want that quickly.

I want to know he means it, that my name was hard-won.  If it has not come yet, I know that for him, it comes at a price.  And I will honor and respect that.  And I will treat it as the gift it is when (and if) it does come.

But until then, he says my son’s name.  And he walks with my dog.

And we’ve been buP1010282ilding other things.  Thing like trust.  And patience.

Yesterday when he hurt his knees and I didn’t have the bandages he liked and he had a mini-meltdown, I told him, “Rītdien.  Tomorrow, I promise.  I get them.”

I’m not sure if anyone’s face has ever lit up as brightly at the sight of gauze rolls in Walmart before.

And for all the grocery store language that went on yesterday, all of my yes’s and my listening mattered.

Today at Walmart, he told me exactly what type of shirt he wanted.  It took a while with all the charades and conversations with a combination of our languages, but we figured it out.  He wanted a muscle/cut-off t-shirt with basketball on the front and a number on the back.  Yes, he took the time to be that specific.

He never talked to me for that long with that much eye contact before.  It was amazing.

And it’s clear that he wants to communicate with me now.  He tried to tell me that he wanted “sula” at bedtime, and even with miming, I couldn’t figure it out.  He patiently waited until Little Man ran downstairs for my phone and I pulled Google translate up.

He just kept telling me.  Patiently.  Calmly.

He had a meltdown two days ago because I couldn’t get his word on the first try.  After that, he never really tried again.  If I tried to follow up or look something up, he would wave me off and stop saying the word to me, and then I couldn’t help him.  I don’t think he wanted my help.

But tonight, he waited.  And watched as I spelled it with every wrong vowel possible.  And then took the phone for the very first time and typed it himself.

Juice!  You want juice!

“Ja.  Yoo-isss-eeee.”

Oh, I’m sorry.  You can’t have juice in bed with you.

“Awwwww…”  No tantrums, no fussing.  Just climbing into bed.

And then, there it was.  His Yoo-iss-eee.  It was his water bottle.  All he wanted was his water bottle that I had given him the night before.

Ja, ja, ja…you can have that.  Smiles.

And maybe these things, these trusting moments, this patience with me…maybe they are his bananas and mayonnaise.  I don’t know what he has to sacrifice within himself to give them to me.  Perhaps he is risking everything he knows to believe I will actually do what I promised.  Perhaps he views patience as a thing that has only gotten him hurt or victimized.  Perhaps the thought of naming the people here makes him gag with fear.

We tend to see things from our own perspective.  He has no idea the sacrifices I am making, and it seems rather silly to expect him to be grateful for them.  And I have no idea what bonding with us is costing him, so why would I return that with complaints that he isn’t where *I* want him to be, or that he isn’t the person that I expected to get?

So I will continue to die to myself and give him his bananas and mayonnaise, and I will hope that he will continue to feel safe enough to give me some, too.

But not real bananas and mayonnaise.  That’s disgusting.

And heaven help us if he asks for fish.

3 thoughts on “I Love You Bananas and Mayonnaise

  1. arwen

    he can come have fish at my house, if he wants – i love fish!

  2. Love this. A lot!

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