Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Well, I survived today. After the conversation I had with my little guy this morning I have to admit that I wasn't completely sure that I would.
I had just come back into the house from clearing the ice off the car. He was cuddled up with his blankie on the floor next to the dining room table. He seemed sad.
He needed to get his boots on. He needed to put on his coat. We needed to get to the car. But first, I needed to find out what was wrong.
Me: What's bothering you, buddy?
Him: I'm afraid you're going to die today.
WAIT....WHAT? (Ok, that part was in my head, but REALLY?! My sweet, adorable 4 year old who has already seen enough sadness in his life to last him into adulthood is afraid I'm going to DIE TODAY? Can we please slow down this emotional freight train?)
Instead it was a quick "Psalm 121" moment followed by a deep breath and this...
Me: Come here. I love you so much. And even if something did happen to me you have so many other people who love you and will help take care of you. Aunt Karen and Uncle Chris. Meemaw and Peepaw. And so many other people. I love you and I promise I will be extra careful today.
Followed by what could only be described as the biggest hug in the history of hugs. And big, watery eyes from him. And choked back tears from me.
In the car, he still seemed upset so I asked him what made him think about that and he said he didn't know.
When I dropped him off with my Dad before going to work, he once again didn't want to let go from our embrace. We both knew why.
When the fire alarm went off in my building today, I barely threw my coat on before I was out the door. When I saw the car in front of me swerving on the way home, I backed way off until the driver finally pulled over to the side of the road. I'm not sure I've ever been more thankful to walk through the door of my house and hear the familiar "Mooooom....do you know where your son is?" while he hides under his blankie.
When I got home tonight and talked with him before bed I told him how happy I was to be home with him and to hear about his day and he quickly told me that he's going to be really sad when I do die. God, I think I have gotten my share of punches in the gut today.
Me: It's natural to be sad when someone dies, but I hope you will be really old and with gray hair when I die.
Him: (laughing and grabbing his chin) Like a Dad with a beard?
Me: Yes, buddy. Like a Dad with a beard.
This kid. This kid and how he teaches me to count my days and love the people around me as best I can.
I try to be as up front with my son as a 4 year old can handle. He has a pretty good B.S. meter for a toddler. I wasn't going to look into his brown eyes (which by the way look just like his Daddy's) and tell him that there's no way I was going to die today, that he was being silly or foolish. He's already had enough life to know that death doesn't only come to those who are old and gray. So I took what he was saying seriously and told him what I knew to be true while also trying to be as reassuring as possible.
Tonight, we cuddled and said our bedtime prayers and he fell asleep peacefully. Life is hard, but love can help get us through and I'm willing to double down all my love on that little guy.
The truth is that today could have been "my day". It could go that way for any of us. I can't predict that... but what I can predict is that if my little guy is somehow here on this earth without me he is going to have more love around him than he could ever handle. I have no fear when it comes to that.