“Tomorrow morning, the Earth will come directly between a full moon and the sun, creating a full lunar eclipse,” my local weatherman tried to describe this anticipated and rare astronomical phenomenon. But for the first time, I wasn’t concerned about understanding the whys and hows. I just wanted to experience it.
At 6:15 a.m. the next morning, I hung a jacket loosely over my nightshirt and headed out to the street. I expected to see droves of other bed-headed neighbors in pajamas, but I was the only one outside staring at the sky. I walked to the mailbox then up the sidewalk a bit. Even though the weather was cooperating, the 2-story houses and 40-foot trees were not. So I went back inside and started toward the bedroom, a little defeated but glad I had tried to bear witness.
And there it was.
Right above the houses and perfectly centered outside the bathroom window, I watched the sun and moon align and shades of yellow morph into orange. It answered every question I’d never asked and every prayer I hadn’t yet prayed. It didn’t want to be Instagrammed or pinned. Just like my son, the moon needed me to see it.
Now that my son is 10 years old, his “angry brain” doesn’t take over as much as it used to. I’m sure maturity has something to do with it. But I believe the main reason his reactions have changed is because the way I experience him has changed.
I used to say my son is oppositional, has ADHD, has insomnia; that he’s funny, has a great sense of rhythm, and is a committed negotiator. Now I realize that he’s so much more than these labels masquerading as characteristics; descriptions I’ve written far too many times on medical and psychological forms that ask to describe your son.
We grew to experience each other differently. Now when his triggers get the best of him, instead of using up energy to try to stifle his mood, I move aside and allow his mind and body to integrate, for the mood to wash over him. It gives us confidence that neither of us will be swallowed up in anger and resentment.
Now I belly laugh with him, dance when he plays his guitar, and listen to him explain why he shouldn’t have to do homework. We stare at the sky together, pray to the stars together, see God in each other.
Experiences have eclipsed descriptions—just like the moon.
photo by Floyd Rocker