It was a cool and overcast afternoon.
Jackson plopped himself down on the couch and stated, “Yes, shoes on.”
Shoes on, then a sweatshirt pulled over his head, he stopped to pick up a Slinky from the floor. Then he picked one up from the couch. And another from over by the door. (Yes, it is true: our home is lousy with Slinkys) Chubby hands full of Slinkys when Jack spies an “open”. (to you and I its a wire basket. to Jackson, it is an “open”)
Hands full, Jackson heads out to the door and settles onto the swing.
He stimmed. He swang. He rearranged the Slinkys in a pleasing manner, and laughed at the wind.
All of Jacksons motions are deliberate. There is never a wasted motion.
This continued for a bit and he gathered his treasures and made his way across the yard to the fence line.
I took this moment to sit myself down on the swing and enjoy the afternoon and the view.
And the view?
Jackson playing with his Slinkys by the fence. His left index finger poked at the corner of his left eye. His right hand above his head- Slinky bouncing from his fingertips, just grazing the ground.
I call out, “Jackson!! No poke-a- eye!” and his left hand snaps down to his side.
He bends over to pick up another slinky. It is connected to another Slinky and the wire basket.
I rise to help him.
He hasn’t asked for my help.
I watch him work his way through it. The first Slinky gets set down on the ground and both hands start working on the tangle. His head tilts to the side with a purpose. Something about the crosshatch of of the wire basket and the Slinky catches his fancy and he smiles.
His hands work again. The head tilts. Another smile.
Soon, Jackson has worked free the tangled Slinky and rises up with two Slinkys — one in each hand.
Standing now, a breeze fluffs his hair as well as the plastic coils.
He is happy with himself.
He is happy with his work.
He is in a moment of grace.
I needed this lesson– to let things unfold– not to rush into solving a problem that wasn’t even a problem. To remember that Jackson CAN ask for “help with it”– and to let him work out what he can– or chooses to.
Because sometimes a tangled mess of Slinky’s can lead to life’s great lessons.