Monday, May 10, 2010

Little kid, harsh realities

My Sam-a-lama has had so many disappointments in his little life. I'm not talking about not getting that train table or that xBox360 he "had to have"...or his TV show being "accidentally" deleted from the DVR (I will NEVER admit it)...or not being good at soccer. I wish those were the only kinds of disappointments he had to deal with. No, my sweet boy had to learn, at three years old, hard truths about reality and the randomness of the universe that I didn't have to learn until I was THIRTY-three. He had to learn lessons of life and death and grief and coping that were far beyond his years. And now he's seven (almost eight) and he just keeps getting hit over the head with life lessons he JUST.SHOULD.NOT.HAVE.TO.LEARN.YET.IF.EVER.

I wish I could describe for you the look on his face when we sat in that minivan-I-love-to-hate in the rainy daycare parking lot and told him Little Bug died. Though I know he tried to be strong for me, I saw pain, anger, hurt and confusion all flash across his face before he was able to push it all down and contain it. It was fleeting, maybe four or five seconds tops, but it was a look I will never forget...and had hoped to never see again.

And then we had a conversation during our Mother's Day McDonald's dinner in bed that stopped me cold.* He was explaining to Myles how he's the big brother but how Myles could be a big brother too, "...when mommy has another baby...if she EVER does" (said with a slightly exasperated tone...which...really...I know the feeling kid). I literally stopped breathing for a second or two as the gears turned oh-so-slowly in my head. It was like being doused with a gallon bucket of ice hold your breath and then, after the initial shock passes, shake it off.

Me: "Sam, I'm sorry, but I don't think there are going to be any more babies for mommy."

Sam: "Why not?"

(Hell kid, why don't you just stab me through the heart and get it over with?)

Me: "Because mommy can't take the heartbreak anymore. It's too much...getting all excited for a new baby...and it not new baby. It makes me too sad."

And THERE...I saw it again...THAT LOOK. Again it flashed across his face and disappeared to someplace I can't go...someplace I'm not allowed. I don't remember this being in any of the parenting books and, truth be told, I'm more than a little afraid of that look. I'm afraid of what it means. I'm afraid because he has the ability to so easily control it..hide it...and continue to eat his cheesburger.

Everyone says he'll be fine. Everyone says we'll all be fine. And I want to scream.

You don't know that. Surely as you didn't know that Alex...or Travis...or Myles...or Little Bug would be fine. You don't know that he'll be FINE! You don't KNOW anything.

In one of those soon-after-the-baby-died (drunken) moments (when you're determined getting pregnant again immediately would be the BEST idea), I sent a Facebook message to my friend Jenne (let me tell you right now, that woman is a genius and I love her), who responded with this...
Quit worrying about what other people think and take a good, hard look at the faces around your dinner table tonight. If you think that everyone there is on board with you and the possibilities - good and bad - then who is anyone to say that you shouldn't try again?
Yes, it's time to stop dragging my kids through my own crap. It's time to grow up ( 38 years old) and do what is best for all of us. Sadly, it's time to teach Sam (and Myles) that sometimes you just don't get the perfect fairytale ending. Here's hoping we can still salvage some sort of happily-ever-after anyway.

*McDonald's was requested so that we could avoid sitting in a "nice" restaurant with any new mommies celebrating their first Mother's Day.


Kathy McC said...

Your friend is right. No one can tell you how to feel, or what the right answers are for you. Nor should they try.

I hope that you find peace, wherever it might be hiding. You're truly a wonderful mom, and you're doing a fantastic job.


Connie Reagan said...

For what it's worth, children handle grief different than we adults.

Both my grandmothers died the same week, when I was a kid...I think I was about 9. I walked in on one grandmother-I will spare you the details. But I remember that I did grieve, but then I'd go play with a cousin and be perfectly fine.My mind was able to compartmentalize it. In my opinion, thinking about it years later, I really think something about childhood allows you to just accept life as it comes at you-you don't have enough experience to know any better. Yes,it is incredibly unfair-for all of you-that this happened. But at least if what I went thru is any indication, their youth protects them somewhat.

Pipsylou said...

Holy *&(^:

Again it flashed across his face and disappeared to someplace I can't go...someplace I'm not allowed.


Yes, it affects you all...and to have the grief of having to explain to your little son that these things happen and there isn't a damn thing we can do about them? Ugh. Makes me want to punch something.

And yes, only you can make the decision as to whether or not you are "done". Don't let anyone else's ideas or thoughts get into the thought process of whether or not you are truly done.

I just wish peace for you, Catherine. Oh yeah, and a big fat screaming 9 pound baby, but apparently I don't get to run the universe.

That didn't make any sense but I'm going with it.

Pipsylou said...

p.s. that's some really, really good advice Jenne gave you.

I'm not sure that you've 100% decided yourself. I mean, you SAY that you have, but only you can know for sure.

One thing I do know...whatever you decide, every single one of us will cover you with love and hugs and kisses and our support.

Yo-yo Mama said...

Fairy tale endings are just that: fairy tales. I wouldn't want to be part of one. It usually means that cutesy animals are sitting on your shoulder and talking to you and giving you advice. Seriously? How fucked up is THAT?!

Beruriah said...

I don't know anything. Except that I care.

Would that saying something over and over could make it true.

ms. G said...

When I think of trying again, one of the reasons I think I "can't" is A. I keep telling myself I got lucky, she is only 2 and I had literally just started introducing the idea of a baby in mommys tummy THAT week. I keep thinking that if I do try again, she will be older and more involved in it. I'm so sorry you have to see Sam deal with this, on top of your own grief.

It is true that no one else's opinion matters on this topic. For me, though, I am always wondering, How do I really KNOW what I want? Sometimes I want someone else to decide for me. Then, no matter what happens, it isn't my fault, it's theirs. :)

ms. G said...

Forgot to add, Love the Micky D's! That is the same reason we did takeout too.