When I Can’t Protect You

A quiet ride home from practice tells me everything. She cannot open up or it will spill out. It breaks my heart. I find myself peppering her with question after question. It is like I just can’t stop myself. I am desperately wanting to be her safe spot. I want to hold her while she cries her tears.

She holds firm and it is becoming clear to me. I cannot fix this. I cannot plow my way in and give her comfort. I must let her keep it here, in a secret spot of her head where no one knows her doubts but her. She must make this hurdle and grow inside. I must pepper her with tools of encouragement and success. I must be her biggest fan.

*   *   *

In the classroom they talk about the shooting that happened a few miles from our house. In our old neighborhood, a nice neighborhood. The shock of it still rippling through whispers and fear. Do I know you neighbor? Do I trust you?

He asks me if I am mad at him for talking about the shooting. With the heaviest of hearts and a sigh that escapes my lips, I explain my no. I’m hurt for him, for us. As he stands here talking about what he heard at school I am incredibly aware that he is growing up. That I can no longer shield him as fully as I have from the world. It’s hard. It is scary.

I want him to believe for one day longer that the good in the world far outweighs the bad. You can always find something good.

*  *  *

He comes home from men’s group and talks about the folly he sees in the idea that as a man you are the protector. He glances over his shoulder and sees clearly that Zach’s death humbled him in the hardest of ways.

Together we wrestle with wanting to be both protected and protector.

*   *   *

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Always. Here. From there.

Anywhere.

Always cheering for you.

With Love,

~ Me

 

I Heart Emotions & My Grandma

It was 9:00 p.m. on Friday night and in the middle of our bedtime routine, I very casually let my children know that Great Grandma was in the hospital. My timing and casualness were off and for a moment, I wish I had kept that to myself.  My little red head was immediately a mess as she battered me with questions.

“Mom, is she dying? Is she okay? Is she … ? When are we … ? What about … ?”

“Grace, sweetheart, no matter what happens I know Great Grandma will be okay.”

“How?”

“Because, she loves Jesus.”

Silence.

“And Great Grandpa? Does he love Jesus?”

“Yes.”

*   *   *

The next day I determined that after gymnastics we should hit the road with to my parent’s house. While I play cool and calm, I feel the turmoil that Grace wears on her sleeve. Grandma loves Jesus, but I love Grandma too. I want years, days, summers at the lakes and weddings to come with her. And while she recovers and is doing well, it is ever present in the changes around us that life is happening.

We are aging and changing.

 

 

Late Night Confession

“Mom, I have something I really need to tell you. I’ve been avoiding it but I need to tell you about it.”

Hesitantly I whisper… “um, okay.” It has already been a long night. I’m worn. I’m emotionally beat down. I am begging myself… don’t be triggered, don’t react.

“Mom, at Dan and Connie’s…um…one time Dan was mad because someone chewed on the wood furniture. He was really mad. He said whoever did it got something, um, taken away.”

“A consequence makes sense. Was it you?” I ask while trying to hold back a smile. This 9:30 p.m. confession has been gnawing at him for more than 4 years. That’s a lot of weight of something so silly right now as teeth marks on furniture. (Says the reactionary crazy parent who probably has and will overreact to something as silly as this again soon…)

“Yeah. I chewed on the wood part of the bed. I let Dan blame the other foster boy. I was scared but I didn’t want to get in trouble. I feel bad.”

I give him a hug and a friendly head rub. I smile and I assure him that it’s okay. That I get it. He didn’t want to get in trouble. And we agree now he probably wouldn’t do that. Well he might. “Mom, how mad would you be?”

Forcing myself to stay in the light of the moment I give one more hug and kiss and bid him good night. Thankful for his confession. One less thing in his backpack to carry around.

One more tiny inch of healing reclaimed.

*  *  *

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