-in his own skin-

Yesterday, in the library… Oh yeah, I’ve been volunteering two days a week in the school library – I’ve never mentioned that on this half-abandoned blog. Anyway… Yesterday I was sitting at my desk, labeling Accelerated Reader books. Two middle school boys were at a table, quietly working on research projects when we suddenly heard heavy footsteps running into the library. They stopped behind a bookshelf and everything was silent. Then there were more running footsteps as a crouching person ran to another set of bookshelves and hid behind them. From there we heard airplane/machine gun sounds.


From the first sound of running, I knew it had to be either Wesley or Malin. The machine gun sounds narrowed my options down to my son. Sure enough, Wesley popped up from behind the shelf and continued to make his 100% boy noises. So weird. What prompts kids to do these things?

Maybe I should have been a stern librarian and shushed him, but I just sat and watched, slightly in awe of his self-possession. When I was in 6th grade, I tip-toed through life, afraid to be noticed too much, afraid to take up space in the world; basically, afraid to let people see me being myself. It’s amazing to me to see my kid (MY KID) completely comfortable in his own skin. Doing weirdly unexpected pantomimes in the library in front of older kids.

Oddly enough, he didn’t seem to care what our reactions were. The other boys didn’t say much; they just laughed a little and looked at each other. (It wasn’t overly disruptive – just a small, probably welcome, break from Kenyan statistics and facts.) Wesley did his thing and then started looking around at books; no comments, no apologies, no explanations.

I give their little school a lot of the credit for the way my children are finding their way comfortably in this world. It’s a safe place for them; they’ve been able to thrive and excel in lots of different ways there. I especially love that friendships aren’t limited to a certain grade level; my children have friends of all different ages that they interact with at school. There’s affirmation coming at them from every direction. I love that they see no need to tiptoe through life.

Instead they run crouching with an imaginary machine gun.


About ruthie.voth

Wife of one, mother of four, friend of many. Lover of details, color, good conversations, finding balance, and being honest. Passionate lover of a well-crafted sentence - even more so if it's witty. Weird blend of cynical optimist. I'm the worst kind of woman. I'm high maintenance, but I think I'm low maintenance. Somehow, people still love me. Must be grace.
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4 Responses to -in his own skin-

  1. Tama says:

    Their school may get some credit, but I think a lot of the credit goes to their family life. You and Roger seem to have a great formula for parenting. Keep it up. 🙂 And by the way, don’t abandon your blog. I live in hope of seeing a new post from Thoughts from the Green Room every day when I check internet… 🙂


  2. I agree with Tama! Amazing, really.

    He obviously felt comfortable with everyone present, including you. And especially himself.


  3. mennodave says:

    I do enjoy your posts when you get the notion to write. I think of it as a way you overcome your natural shyness and take your place in the world. I am glad you have developed this skill.

    On shyness … my sister in law was reclusive for more than 20 years (I never saw her during that time, even though I visited my brother) Then several years ago she emerged as a terrific blogger … even won some awards. She always has her camera and uses the pictures as a jumping off point. Lately she has had some physical problems and so has not been blogging.

    At the same time she became an elder in her church and is just a joy to be around. I have always wondered at the transformation.


  4. Marie Milelr says:

    Ruthie, I don’t even have to wonder where your kids get their confidence..You and Roger are great parents and allow your kids to spread their wings and be themselves. Love all of you!


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