Today should have been good. It really should have. But it wasn’t. It was a day full of disappointment and sadness and wishing for the time when life was simpler…
…when the most difficult part of the day was changing a poo-poo diaper. When William and Kate were best friends, and Henry was a chubby, drooling, porkchop of a baby. When Coco was here, and by my side (even though that irritated me at the time). I would give anything to trip over that big old dog now…just about anything. Even just the thought of that makes my heart ache with missing him. When my days were spent rocking babies and watching toddlers collect cicadas in their bug bottles. And The Man and I would dream of our life together. When Coco and I would sit in the very tiny shade of our very tiny maple tree.
Now, that maple casts quite a nice patch of shade in the yard. Coco is gone, and those little toddlers and babies ride off on their bikes while I stand alone at the window, watching as their shapes get smaller and smaller, until I can no longer see them as they turn the corner to their friends’ houses. It is no exaggeration to say that my heart hurts each and every time they ride away from me. They are learning their way, and I am learning to let them learn it.
This morning, while I rubbed sunblock into William’s face before his football game, I listened to him bellyache about having to wear it (I suppose it was embarassing him or something). Then I watched as he learned to accept that he is not the best player on his team this year…and that his talents are best on the defensive side of the ball (and he is really good, fyi). I watched as his spirit wilted everytime he came out of the game because he didn’t get a touch. I wanted to hug him, but good golly that would be more embarassing than the sunblock, so I just tousled his hair and told him he was playing great (and he was).
And I watched him with his friends today — friends he’s had for years. Today they did not get along. He and his brother tell one story, the other boys tell another, and I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in between. I know I heard a whole lotta arguing and general discontent while I was out working in the gardens.
It is like watching a storm. Watching painful lessons being learned. Watching disappointments spread across their faces. Watching little boys grow into big boys. Watching all these games they play and all these fights they fight and hoping they learn something. Watching them learn that yes, someone wins, and someone loses, and that how you win and how you lose says a lot about you. Watching them learn that words hurt, and that cheating stinks, and that hitting and name-calling and picking on one another doesn’t make anyone a winner.
Tonight as I tucked William into bed, I looked at his hair that is already lightened by the sun, and his pink face and told him it was a good thing he got the sunblock on this morning and he just smiled. Then his eyes filled with tears and he asked when we could get a dog. And I said “Soon.” And he said “Tomorrow?” And the way his voice shook made me want to say “Yes, tomorrow. Tomorrow we’ll go and get a dog.” But “No, not tomorrow” is what came out of my mouth. “Not tomorrow, Buddy, but soon.” And he said “okay” and “I love you.” Then he tried not to cry.
It is so hard for me to see him so sad.
Tonight, I wish with all my heart for peace to settle deep in his little boy soul.