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“A portrait {or five} of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

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Izzy—Sitting in our driveway enjoying the Fall weather and fallen leaves while we wait for Dada to get home and for the Bears game to start.
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It’s been another crazy and exhausting week, but a good one. I’ll just get right to what it was that Izzy said this week that I most wanted to write down… it’s one I never ever want to forget.

Mr. B, Izzy and I were sitting at the dinner table. When dinner was done and we were all just sitting around chatting, Mr. B thought it would interest Izzy if he told him he had gotten a pretty nasty splinter embedded in his finger while at work, because Izzy has had a quite a few slivers in his feet from our deck this past year. Izzy knows just how painful they can be, but he’s also somewhat fascinated by them and the removal of them… and I’d say, maybe even almost welcomes the occasional sliver because he knows he gets a lollipop or some other treat for being so brave while we remove the splinter and he endures the digging and the pain.

Mr. B thought that maybe Izzy would be interested to know that others get slivers too… not just him… and that when they do, it’s painful for them as well. He also thought Izzy would be interested in how he got the sliver at work. So he said, “Hey, Isaac. Guess what. I got a splinter at work.”

Izzy got up out of his chair and walked to the other side of the table to check it out per his dad’s suggestion. As soon as he walked up to Mr. B, he looked up into his eyes with his own big eyes, full of empathy and concern, and said in the sweetest voice, “Oh, that’s too bad, Dada. I got some slivers, too.”

I was stopped and even almost stunned. He could have walked up and looked at his dad’s hand and said something like, “oh, wow!” or asked a question about the sliver or how he got it. But before he did anything else, he—at his very young age of three and a half—expressed the sweetest empathy toward his father. “Oh, that’s too bad, Dada.” Wow. I have never quite heard him express such empathy. I mean, he’s come up to me in my tears before and said “Don’t be sad,” and shown care and concern… and even brought me a tissue. But this was the first time I saw him clearly show that he understood and realized… identified, really… with someone else’s “plight”. And then went on to explain that he had known that pain, too… but only after first acknowledging that he felt bad.

My heart swelled, probably the biggest it has ever swelled, and certainly the most it’s ever swelled in regards to him. I was not just impressed. I was so touched. Many moments have I wondered and been concerned about how this past year and a half would affect our son… to see the pain and heartache we went through, but also all the other things that show up in loss and grief… anger or fear or frustration, short temper or detachment, loss of determination or resolve, sadness… even depression. I have feared the ways that seeing these things might affect him, and have often prayed that his heart and mind would be protected from any of the negative effects of these things.

To see my son already turning out to be an empathetic little soul so young… it just warms my heart. More than that. It gives me hope. It makes me so grateful for protection over him throughout what he’s been through. He may not fully understand death, but her certainly knew something wasn’t quite right. He still talks about Anysia and sometimes says he wishes she was here.

Perhaps he would have been an empathetic child regardless of our loss and all that came with it. But even is so, it makes no less of an impression on me.

I needed to see that little display of empathy the other day. It was a glimpse I needed of the beauty that might come of all this.

I was sure to tell him how very thoughtful I thought he was to say what he did.

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Here are some shots of the tree those leaves Izzy is playing with are from {while they are still somewhat pretty and before every last leaf has fallen off}…

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