Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out

This week will mark the 9th birthday of my son and I am not quite sure how I feel about this one.  It feels as if we are rapidly hurtling towards him selecting a college I am so not OK with that idea.  To lose my grasp on him terrifies me and makes me miss him.  Long before he'll actually be gone.  And then I think - what if we don't make it that far?

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.

Crisis averted.

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.


Shell said...

Oh, this gave me chills. I can't even imagine anything happening to my boys.

Michelle and Heath said...

Oh my goodness..I totally thought I was the only person on the planet that thought about everything you just wrote...the night of my recent blog post about the Love You, Forever book I seriously thought something tragic was going to happen soon because my life felt all too perfect and my little man was just the sweetest EVER that night. So in the back of my mind I was thinking this is too good to be true and I am deathly afraid to leave him right now. You just wrote what I feel VERY often, why do we have these thoughts??? :)

Kim said...

I sometimes get overtaken by these kinds of thoughts when I look at my two. Parenthood, the best and scariest thing to ever happen to me.

DaisyGal said...

I too have thought these things..that sons husband all too good to be true and I worry like u do too...worry that the perfeect times will be memories that haunt me someday. But I read this and felt almost at ease that someone felt like I did..tht I was not alone. So thank u for that. And happy birthday to that perfect son of youurs to!!!

Emmy said...

Wow you are a good writer. This took me through so many emotions. And yes I too often picture something happening to the point that I will be crying. Here's for hoping and praying that life just stays good.

Kim said...

WOW! I could have written this myself. I am sorry to hear about your son's anxiety but I am glad he has gotten over it. I have always said I feel like my life will end tragically because it has been perfect all along but I truly hope that is not the case and that you and I are just truly blessed and we are God's children and this is the life he chose for us.

Happy Birthday to your sweet boy.

Mamarazzi said...


i am now bawling my face off.

must. go. wake. up. teenager.

i need to hug her.

she will think i am a nut, but really what else is new?!

beautiful post!

Beth Zimmerman said...

This is a beautiful, heartfelt, heart-breakingly honest post! I have one of those "perfect" boys too and have lived with many of the same fears. Some based in reality. Some just in my mother heart. Now Josiah is 21 and wants to go wherever Jesus wishes to take him. I was hoping for a few more years at a local college. But Jesus has called him to the Himalayas and he will go. And I will live, on my knees, trying to remember that he goes with God, until I get another chance to hug him. In the meantime ... before he goes ... I will cherish every moment and live life to the fullest so that whatever happens ... we will have no regrets!

Amy said...

I think that is the curse of motherhood. The fear of something happening to our babies. My sister in law just gave birth to her little boy a week and a half ago. Saturday they found out he has a rare genetic disorder and will die sometime within the year. She has experienced this with three brothers and two nephews, and now her own. I cannot comprehend. The thought of losing a child paralyzes me. You are absolutely right, it is so important to cherish them while we have them. Whether they go away to college, get married, or God has other plans for them, every second with them is precious.

MiMi said...

This makes me have goose bumps. I know exactly what you mean though. Beutiful post, friend!

Lourie said...

I totally get this. I think as parents, our biggest fear is losing our children. And it is so heart breaking to see/read those real life stories. It makes you want to hug your children and never let go! You are not alone in these feelings.

Helene said...

It is so comforting to know there are other mothers out there who think the same thing I do. With every kiss goodbye, I wonder, "Is this the last time I'll see that smile?" I can't help it. I just want to make every minute count for something, just in case. My husband thinks I'm completely morbid for having those thoughts so I'm grateful that you poured your heart out in this post, as difficult as it probably was.

Thank you for sharing this. And I went and read the blog you referred to and it gave me chills. I could not even imagine going on vacation and having something that tragic happen. My prayers are with them.

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

oh wow...I know exactly how you feel. I think the second you become a parent this haunts you. I'm always waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop! You're so right! We need to just stop and think how blessed we are today. Thanks for writing this and reminding me.

And thanks for your sweet words about our dog, Guinness. Hearing everone's words of encouragement and sympathy is really helpful.

I hope you're having a happy President's Day!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

KID said...

Amazing post. I was just telling a friend today about my fear of losing one of my children. I get anxiety and lose sleep over those thoughts and often feel like things have been too good for me. It's good to know I'm not alone in these thoughts. See you soon friend!


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