November 4, 2021

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by: admin

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Tags: part, Worst

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Categories: Parenting

This Half Is the Worst Half

Appendicitis? Is he touching his side? The virus? Growing pains? Leg cramps? I had terrible leg cramps when I was his age. Did he see something on his iPad that scared or saddened him? Is it the spirit that lives in the guest room? What is he feeling Is he intuating something? Is that a delayed response to something that happened today? Is he worried about his brother? Does he remember that I get mad at him for splashing so much water out of the tub while bathing tonight? It took two towels to wipe everything up and he thought it was funny, or at least he laughed when I got angry. Damn it, I don’t know. I can only pray I think.

Please God, please God, please God, please God, please God, let him be fine. Let him calm down and don’t feel any pain. Let me know he’ll be fine. Please bring him peace and comfort. Please. Please.

I know we have to hurt sometimes. I know we all get sick, I know we all have to cry. But if no one understands our pain of any kind, it must create a very different kind of agony. Is his experience, whatever it is, ever really registered as real if someone cannot know what he is experiencing with or in him? I am his witness, but I don’t know what to give back to him. I can admit he’s upset, but I don’t know how to exactly confirm what is causing the problems. I don’t know what to have empathy for other than a general sense of his pain. This is excruciating to me and it must be crazy for him. How could he help but feel trapped in his discomfort? That part of the experience – the part where another person understands and appreciates what you are feeling – I can’t give him.

Oh my heart

Oh, his heart.

****

I lay next to him, rubbing his back when he let me, telling him everything would be fine while prayers and questions twisted against each other in my head. He started to settle down. He slid closer to me and threw his arm over my upper abdomen, which is a bit unusual for him. He is physically affectionate, but mostly fleeting. He hugs freely, but only as long as it is his idea. His arm was thrown over me and he nestled his head in the hollowed area between my collarbone and my chest.

I thought I was going to start crying again, but held it back and concentrated on holding it. His breathing became more even, his body relaxed and he slipped under the first sleeping veil, turning around when he felt my shoulder move away from under him. Finally he let out a deep, long sigh. I got up from the bed and sighed, pulled the covers around his shoulders and left his room.

I slipped back under my covers, worried and shaken. I thought about mind reading – how much of it we do as humans, how much communication is unspoken and how much is not. In general, because my son is crying, I can know that he is excited or that something is wrong. I can’t be sure because I don’t understand his language. As much as we work on communication, the subtleties that can never be reproduced when you touch a photo with a label on an iPad are endless. Does he even know how much I love him if I can’t give him everything he needs or wants? Does he think I’m just ignoring him? I said another prayer that he does not do, that he would sleep and that peace would cover us.

This essay was adapted from “I Dream He Talks to Me” by Allison Moorer, Copyright © 2021 by Allison Moorer. Used with permission from Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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