“No thanks, I’m good.”
Our son’s response to our asking him if he wanted to go to the dance that night. Of course, we did ask him late, having just found out about the first Freshman dance minutes before, but Liam, still proudly wearing his school uniform at 7pm on a Friday night, and working on schoolwork that wasn’t due for days, was content to stay where he was.
Normally, that vapid response, “No thanks, I’m good” makes my jaw clench and forces a terse smile on my face. But last night, it warmed my heart. Last night he was good. He was in his happy place at the dining room table, his school laptop and personal electronics arced around him. His music was playing, his work was flowing, he was good.
I was worried about Liam beginning high school. I wasn’t anxious about the in-person, all students-present worry that many parents have coming out of a seventeen-month quarantine and sending their child to an actual school setting again. I was worried because his colleagues seemed more adjusted socially. His peers were more rehearsed vernacularly. And the mama-bear in me was just not sure this logical, genial, and somewhat quirky child of mine would be able to maneuver the challenges I remember of coming into a bigger high school.
Once again, I see the error of my thinking. His good is different than how I perceive he should be content. Liam is in a good place. He is doing very well in school. He rises before his alarm, happy and ready for the day. He spends free time reviewing the day’s lessons and then trying to work ahead so he won’t have so much work the next day (which, really, when that happens each day, defeats the purpose, but I digress…). Liam plays a little Minecraft, has a late evening snack, showers, and hits the sack usually after I am in bed. He is growing into the quintessential scholar, quite happy with this life. Where I think my good is my accomplishments, Liam’s is simpler. More genuine. Fuller of recognizing the good in his life and heart and not the little minor things that can sidetrack that good. We all need to feel the good that Liam feels. I need to embrace that in him and practice it myself.
Today is Liam’s “Gotcha Day”, the day we celebrate his adoption anniversary. We celebrate him as we do his birthday: with family, BBQ, brownies, and a few gifts. It is a joyful celebration, rejoicing in the blessing of his life in ours, and a time to reflect on all the obstacles he has overcome and how we are edified through his efforts. So, when Liam responds with, “No thanks, I’m good”, I know that yes, he is good. And I am grateful. Truth be told, when he is good, there are many hearts that are better off. So when you ask me if I need anything and I answer, “No thanks, I’m good”, know that I have learned from the best.