Please don't judge me and don't say I am crazy. Shell's Pour Your Heart Out is part writing exercise and part therapy for me. And there is no truer fear in my heart than losing my son. I hope and pray that if I can "pour it out" I can move on from it. Or at least stop fretting over it for a while.
There's something buried in me that absolutely, genuinely believes that if something looks too good be true then it probably is. I don't believe in perfect. I cherish those sweet, sunny days that have a ring of perfection to them but even then I almost expect to have a car accident on the way home. Twisted, I know.
My son is perfect to me. I am sure if you asked someone else they would say he's too small, or we should really address orthodontia sooner than later, or something that would point out a minor imperfection. But I think he is perfect. I remember sitting on the side of the bed in our sunny guest room the day I found out I was pregnant with him and sharing the good news with my Nanny. I was over.the.moon. That feeling for him has not changed even once in the last nine years.
God blessed us with the kindest, funniest, smartest, most considerate child in the world. He is a wonderful student and a gifted athlete. He works hard, listens eagerly and doesn't question authority. He has slept all night in his own bed since he was 7 weeks old. He is kind to his sister and loves God and his family.
Is he somehow not human? Of course not. I do not love his "all boy" approach to housekeeping or hygiene. I would like for him to spend less time bulding trains out of Legos and more time reading books that challenge him. I am not impressed when he brings home a test that is below his ability because he wanted to finish and go to recess. Our relationship is real, but my love for him is beyond anything I ever even knew was possible.
He seems to good to be true.
And if that's the case then surely I will be smacked in the face with the grim reality of the world any moment now. The harsh unforgiving world that doesn't let perfection linger. The world that knows I have done nothing to deserve something so pure and ideal.
A few years ago I was hysterical quite often because he was not well. He complained constantly of terrible headaches and fatigue. He wasn't eating and when he did he wasn't digesting well. I was convinced that my exposure to perfection was done and he was terminally ill. My fear was absolute. We pursued some testing and counseling and came to the conclusion that his focus on the "right thing" really didn't permit him to accept anyone who was doing the "wrong thing". His anxiety manifested in a very physical way. There was a lot of the "wrong thing" going on in kindergarten and we learned how to help him work through that.
I've not had any real fear like that since then, but it's always there. Always threatening me. The more I love him the more I fear that his fate has been determined. I think about all of the the beautiful children that are tragically taken from their families by illness, or meanness or tragedy. You hear it over and over again.
"She was just the brightest star in the universe."
"We were lucky to have him for even a minute."
"God had better plans for him."
Recently I was ordering something from an acquaintance, who was referenced on her sister in law's blog, who referenced her friend who had a perfect son, with a perfect name who was in perfect health. Before he tragically died at the age of 9. Her first born bundle of vibrant perfection is gone forever. Be still my heart.
There is absolutely no reason that I should have been connected to this woman who I don't know. None. I was buying a gift for my brand new niece and there she was talking about "her Max" and how they had to fly home from vacation without him. My heart shattered in a million pieces for her family and makes my hands tremble when I think about my own perfect son.
But I felt a little bit like it was a reminder. A reminder that even if something is too good to be true it should be cherished all the more. To celebrate clean laundry and fish sticks. To stop digging for perfection and linger over bedtime prayers. to be sure and tell everyone you love how much you mean it whenever you get the chance.
If our life is too good to be true I want it to end knowing that we took full advantage while it was here.