I’m glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

I turned my Instagram account public. I’ve been using it to collect & document celebrations. I love it. Please follow me there: @ruth_ayres to find celebrations throughout the week.
Oh my goodness — those comments you left me last week? Thank you!

There is magic in the muddle. This week the muddle is thick. We are days away from summer break. This is hard. Never again will life be just as it is right now. When kids return to school in August, everything is different. Different teacher. Different room. Different classmates. 
This causes anxiety. It especially causes anxiety for a 10 year old boy who has never returned to the same school. Never. 
Before Jay came home to us he started each grade in a new school. When he joined our forever family, he was in second grade and went to school in the district I work.
Third grade and he went to school at the district in our hometown.
Fourth grade and he moved to the intermediate school in our hometown. The afternoon after his first day of school in fourth grade, he greeted me at the door when I came home. Bouncing upanddownandupanddown he announced, “You were right, Mom! I did know all of the kids in my class! They all came back from last year! I can’t believe it.”
It was a whole new paradigm, much like life for a caterpillar that comes out of his cocoon as a butterfly. Same eyes, but a whole new perspective.
Early in the week, Jay was nearly impossible to please, and difficult to get along with. He was a ball of fury and there didn’t seem to be any reason why.
The truth tickled my ears: All behavior is a result of a feeling. Our thoughts influence our feelings and our feelings influence our actions.
After a rocky bedtime routine and a spat that landed Jay in his bed, cocooned inside his thick quilt, and the rest of us perplexed, I stood beside his top bunk and wondered what to do.
I hoisted myself up into the bunk and curled up beside him. He inched away from me and pasted himself to the wall. I left the space between us. If a butterfly is going to thrive, the cocoon must be left alone.
Quietly I asked, “What grade will you be in next year?”
His voice gravely, it seemed like he spit rocks with his answer. “Fifth grade.” Then he rolled over peeked out of a tiny space at the top of his quilt and raised his voice. “Gosh! I don’t know! Who knows what grade I’ll be in! Just leave me alone!”
Only he didn’t move away from me, he moved closer, rolling to close the gap between us and resting his head on my outstretched arm.
Still quiet, I said, “You’ll be in fifth grade, buddy. Kids with all A’s and B’s go to fifth grade. Kids who get along with others and do their best to follow the rules go to fifth grade. You’re going to fifth grade.”
“Whatever. Gosh.” He spit more stones.
“You’ll still have the guys too. Chris and Liam and Gavin will all be your friends when you go to fifth grade. You’ll still be “the guys” in fifth grade.”
Unexpectedly, his little arms shot right out of the quilt and hugged me tight around the waist. I pulled him close and said, “You don’t need to worry about next year. You’ll still be an Ayres. You’ll still be at your school. You’ll still have your friends. There’s no reason to worry.”
His eyes met mine and he smiled. “Okay.”
“Okay,” I said back, but it meant so much more than one little word can hold. It meant this family is forever and you are forever loved.
I climbed down from the top bunk.
“Mom?” his question stopped me and I turned back. Maybe we weren’t okay after all.
“What Jay?”
“I wondered why I was being such a jerk to everyone. I didn’t know I was worried. I’m glad you know about that stuff because I don’t like being a jerk and I guess worrying does weird stuff to you.”
“I love you, Jay.” I clicked off the light. Someday I’ll have to tell him I have no idea about stuff, I just listen and love.
Worrying does weird stuff to you. Isn’t that the truth? The magic is right here in the middle of the muddle. We don’t have to worry. Instead, we take the time to listen and love and break into a new perspective. I’m grateful as chains of insecurity and anxiety and anger are loosened from Jay’s heart. We keep catching glimpses of the beauty beneath the cocoon of his heart. Someday it will soar. 
This is most definitely the magic in the muddle.


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  1. “Worrying does weird stuff to you.” Indeed!!! This story brought tears to my eyes. How you loved him through his fear!!!! So beautiful! Thank you for celebrating the magic through the muddle!

  2. Yes, “worrying does weird stuff to you.” That is a lovely and true catch phrase these days. Oh the muddle is to celebrate indeed! Beautiful.

  3. Your tale this week brought tears to me eyes – yet I smiled as I read through your words – so similar to my own this morning. Yes, this week I celebrate WORDS – those words we say that make a difference in the lives of others.

  4. I cried when I read this because you placed me right there with you. You write so well about this experience. I know you are helping others through your words. You are such a wise mother. Listening with your heart is key!

  5. “You’ll still be an Ayres.”
    Something deep inside me tells me this is what Jay needs to hear – often, and with the great love and patience you have in your hearts to recognize this.

  6. You do know about “that stuff.” It is who you are. You may feel like you are parenting by the seat of your pants, but your instinct of what to say and what to do guide you because of the higher power that fills your heart. He is the force behind your love for your children.

  7. I expect wise words from you, Ruth, but those words from Jay are words to celebrate big time, too! “I wondered why I was being such a jerk to everyone. I didn’t know I was worried. I’m glad you know about that stuff because I don’t like being a jerk and I guess worrying does weird stuff to you.” Tell Jay that I will remember his words, too!

  8. Reading about this story of Jay made me stop and think about what my own daughter is going through right now and gave me new insights. I love how your presence comforted your son and brought him out of his cocoon. You are very wise!

  9. This is beautifully written – it captures so much wisdom and pain. “I'm glad you know about that stuff.” Those words mean so much – you know how to say the right things, notice the unsaid and reflect it back so gently.

  10. Ruth,
    I love this and all the celebrations you share every week. I find them uplifting. I love the way you capture a slice of your life so beautifully and so gently. It's very inspiring.

  11. I always love reading your stories. Your willingness to slow down and listen is so important. Reaching out to your son is the best gift you could give him.

  12. Oh, if only we always took that moment you did–to stop and wonder what need might be hiding behind certain behaviors, to stop and ponder what we might do to fulfill that need. Just like you weren't sure you had the answer, we won't always get it right, but we would be righter more of the time. There is so much peace in this celebration–for Jay and for his momma.

  13. Moving story. Tears. What a great kid!

    Favorite lines…

    “Someday I'll have to tell him I have no idea about stuff, I just listen and love.”

    “Worrying does weird stuff to you.”