Seth's Sword was by the Door

I thought, for now, I can do a picture of my day in 2" X 2" - I've done it before, and it seems manageable, not so intimidating. I'm not crazy about how the drawing came out - I kinda, sorta wanted it to be to scale, but then it ended up looking odd... not bad, though, for a non-draw-er! I know at some point this month I'll free up, not need to be so literal, just let go with color and movement... this time, I did something familiar.

And there's a story.

Seth was at a friend's yesterday afternoon. I had the use of John's truck, so Evan and I went out for a bit - the novelty of not walking or riding the bus was cool! I called my friend who was watching Seth, and told her I'd be home in a little while. I offered to pick Seth up on my way home, but I talked to Seth and he wanted to stay and play a while longer. When Evan and I got home, I saw Seth's plastic sword against the door, and the videogame he had taken to his friend's house. I figured they had come home while we were out, saw we weren't here, and he had gone back to their house. They live just a couple blocks down.

I was just getting ready to call her, and heard Seth at the door - he was crying! "Mommy, mommy, mommmmmyyyyy...". I opened the door, and he came in just sobbing! He said his friend had dropped him off, his mom drove away, and no one was home! He didn't know what to do. He said he was SO scared, he went to our next-door neighbor's house and she watched him until we came home. He was crying and crying... and I went numb. I don't know where I went.

I am SO empathetic with the boys, I always see where they're coming from... but last night, I felt annoyed! Here was my son, having gotten a big scare, and I was unable to understand. I just kept thinking - but you could have gone back to your friend's house! They live just down the street! Or gone to another friend's - we've got friends all over the neighborhood. And he apparently forgot my cellphone number. I just went cold inside. I was patting his back, holding him -- but I felt baffled. And I'm ashamed to say, I let him know I was baffled. I just couldn't wrap my mind around why he was so scared; he knows the neighborhood so well, and he knew I was out, and would be home soon - I had just talked to him and told him that!

I wish I had been able to shut up, to just hold him through my confusion, know that for whatever reason, he was scared, and that's what mattered. I wasn't there. Until: he said, "I was so worried that you had been home, and someone had come in and taken you and Evan! I don't know what I would do without you! Who would take care of me? Where would I go-o-o-o-o-o-o?" Setting off a new round of sobbing. THEN I got it. THEN I remembered that he was nine - NINE. He wouldn't react the way *I* would, because he's not me. He's nine.

This was so uncharacteristic of me, of us, of how we are together. Evan kept saying, "He's scared, Mama." But, I couldn't think of a logical reason he'd be scared, and for some reason, I wanted it to make sense to me. Gah. I hate writing this. I was so cold, and not there for him. Well - I was there - I was holding him, letting him know he was OK, and safe. But until it clicked for me - I was bothered.

I wonder if part of it has to do with Seth's size - he may be nine, but he's almost as tall as me. He's BIG. This was the first time he's gotten so upset in a while - maybe because he's so big, part of me thought he should handle it like an adult?

I know, too, I was channeling my mom. We couldn't cry around her, it wasn't allowed. Neither was being too happy. She used to shut down the same way, just turn cold and unavailable. I swear, I think I've gotten OVER stuff, that I've healed, and don't have a need for those old ways of being - and here it was. Where does that come from? Why now? Why did it take so long for me to SEE, really SEE Seth, and his nine-ness last night?

As soon as I saw what was happening, I apologized. We talked about it, a bit. And we talked again this morning, because he had a dream that he was lost, and scared. At least I won't make him feel like it's HIS fault, my confusion. He knows I own it. Opportunity for growth, for all of us.

Interesting timing - my sister just called. She didn't have time to talk right now, but we will later today. Since she had her son (he's 5), we've talked and talked about our childhood, and how we're creating a different relationship with our kids. I'm grateful to have her to talk to.


Jennifer H said...

It's impossible to be in sync all the time with our kids, and it sounds like you talked it all out and made your thoughts and feelings clear. I'm sure he knows how loved he is. I admire your sensitivity to making a different kind of relationship with your own children. We can only do it one day at a time, and it sounds like you're doing a great job.

(Hang in there...)

Ronnie said...


This post has churned up a lot for me, so much that I'm having trouble putting it into words. In short, I can relate, and I think you're doing fine.

This was a bad moment in a lifetime (to your boys) of good ones. Your sons are never going to be cold to *their* children and say "I was channeling my mom." The journey you are on has already broken that cycle, and this moment has served as a very effective reminder (to me too!) of why the journey is worthwhile.

Ann said...

Aww, you're so hard on yourself, my friend!

I think the real blessing here was seeing how you worked through the whole thing, realizing that something didn't feel right, until you finally understood the situation and what your child needed.

Now, THAT is brilliant parenting. :)