Friday, May 25, 2007

Dear Maggie

It’s raining. Rain, rain, rain. I’m home with Littlest Boy, who is now watching Curious George and graciously allowing me to not play Princess Leia to his Luke Skywalker. I get tired of being rescued all the time. So the rain pours down, forming into rivulets and then into streams and the cattle out in the south pasture are complaining about it. I’m thinking about you.
Has it been two years since you’ve been gone? Two years, about a thousand diapers, a few hundred meals.
Your boys, as frustrating as they are, are still the joy of my life.
Bigglest Boy is struggling with dealing with people, those closest to him. He’s still more comfortable with books than with people. I don’t expect that to change but one thing that is changing is that he’s learning to talk instead of yell.
He’s also learning that people love him. Last weekend Littlest Boy was playing with his Jack-in-the-box. He would crank it one way, and the music would play and the puppet would pop out. Then he would turn it around, crank it the wrong way and nothing would happen.
This offended Bigglest Boy’s sense of order, and as I came into the room I heard Bigglest Boy say, “That’s WRONG!” and then thumped Littlest Boy on the head. Littlest Boy burst into tears. I immediately separated Bigglest Boy, put him upstairs in his room, then I went downstairs and checked on Littlest Boy, kissed his head, dried his tears, and told him he could turn the crank any way he wanted.
I then went upstairs to talk to Bigglest Boy.
“Do you know why your little brother is crying?” I asked him.
“Because I thumped him on the head,” he answered.
“Right. Do you know where that hurts?” I asked.
“Um,” he paused, knowing my method by now, “well, on his head...”
“Not enough to make him cry. He’s hurting inside, because his big brother, who he loves very much and who he thinks is the greatest boy in the world, just yelled at him and hit him on the head. So yes, his head hurt for a second, but his heart hurts even worse. He thinks you are disappointed in him, and that he did something wrong.”
Long silence; I stood there with my hands folded.
“Do you know what you should do now?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Then I’ll tell you. Go straight downstairs, apologize to him, and ask him if he’s okay.”
I expected an argument. His eyes narrowed, and Maggie, when they do that he looks EXACTLY like you. I expected an I won’t or you can’t make me or something.
“Now [Littlest Boy] doesn’t know if he can play with you anymore,” I continued. “He’s afraid you’ll hit him again.”
Bigglest Boy stared at the floor.
“And he’ll probably stay afraid until you tell him you’re sorry and you act like you’re his big brother again. He loves you.”
Bigglest Boy rolled his eyes, but he got up and went downstairs, went straight to Littlest Boy and said, “I’m sorry.” He meant it, too, I think, which is a first.
I don’t know if I handled it like you would have, Maggie, but I handled it.
Middlest Boy is driving me nuts with the food thing. He won’t eat anything I cook except for plain pasta, or plain potatoes. If he doesn’t like anything that’s for dinner, he happily eats bread and water. He eats everything his daddy makes, though. I’m trying not to let it hurt my feelings, reminding myself that I am the grown-up and he is the child.
I had a birthday on Monday. I’m 26 and I feel like I’ve grown up more in the last two years than I did in the previous ten.
I’m getting by, and we’re doing okay. Still, I’d give anything for you to be here right now.

4 comments:

the desertwind said...

very sincere and it speaks volumes of you and the way you handle things littlegirl, you are a gift in life--happy birthday to you also,and a wish for many many more.
david

Jenn said...

I agree. You handle things as though you were born to do it. I suppose all women are born to do it but some do it better and with more common sense than others. Loved how you handled it. Perfectly. Have not been here in a while. Thought to check in. Glad things are OK.
Jenn

Clean said...

Sweetheart, you handled that (as usual) so much better than I handle similar challenges that you make me feel simply inadequate. (Note that I've been raising my kids - and a dozen or so on loan - since you were seven...)

Maggie left her kids (and man) in the best possible hands, and this was no accident.

Best to all of you.

introspectre said...

You're a wonderful mother.

By birth or by choice, it doesn't matter. Those children are absolutely blessed to have you in their lives.

And for the record? You handled it perfectly.