I did it, I created our monthly menu for August. Nothing new there, huh? Another month, more meals to plan for, shop for, prepare for. Screeeeeeeeech, what is that date that's lurking at the end of the month, that date I normally like because it's payday? You can't really be serious that August 25 is one month away and Nathan will pack a backpack with a very long list of items from his supply sheet and a cool lunchbox and head to Kindergarten for the first time. I have had mini-breakdowns every day for the past week. And there's still a month to go.
As I was shopping today for our dinner menu and tossing in some lunch fun, the thought came to me, will Nathan want to take this for lunch? Will this be cool enough for him? Will he have enough time to eat? I know he can open a fruit cup at home, but what if he makes a mess and gets some juice on his pants and everyone calls him pee-pee pants when it's just fruit juice? The boy loves some Ramen so we've got to experiment with Ramen in a thermos. And doesn't he eat wicked early? He'll be ravenous when I pick him up. All that brain energy being used requires food. Let's not even discuss his lunch box choice dilemma. I have looked at so many I'm close to brown bagging it.
You would think I've never been in a classroom, that I've never been a student, much less a teacher. I am trying so very hard to allow him to be himself and not get anxious over having the right folder, eraser, pencil, glue stick, hand gel for class. I want the teacher (oh, who will she be????) to know he's the most amazing kid she'll ever have while at the same time I know he's human and we all have faults. I want to hope that he'll be a good influence on others and not be overly affected by the things he is exposed to at this age. I want to hope that he'll make some really good friends. I want to hope that no one will think twice about some wicked cool braces he has on his legs or that he sometimes falls or that he isn't as fast as others. I want to hope that I won't miss him so very much, but I already know I will. I have a month to go on lunch dates with him, play in the pool, shop at Target and leave a popcorn trail. I have a month to go to the library with him, to visit friends with him, to run off to somewhere for an overnight if we desire. I'm running out of time to be home with my most amazing Nathan.
Let me be clear, I have Brady at home and will treasure having some one-on-one time with my little baby because we don't have much of that. But for five and a half years, Nathan has been here for me all the time. Perhaps I have held on to him too tight, but I wasn't about to let him go. I didn't and don't want to miss a moment with either of them. And now he's going to be in an ugly old concrete building all day with a strange lady (I'm sure she'll be fine and we'll all love her, but right now she's a stranger) and other strange children and I'm not going to know what all he's doing the whole time. He loves Brady and playing with him, teaching him, loving on him. I am not ready for the two of them to be apart for long periods of time. I believe there's a hidden umbilical cord the two of them share. He's such an incredible little helper at home and I so enjoy watching him learn. He soaks up knowledge better than my any sponge I know. I don't think there's anything he can't do and I'm so very proud of him. I'm just not ready and I've got less than a month to be ready to drop him off in a classroom with a smile on my face. Once I walk out Brady and I can fill up at the local bakery and drown our sorrows in some sugary confection.
Dear God, please, please slow down your clock so I may enjoy these last days of summer with my boys. Help us to make the most of these days and not be grumpy or grouchy with each other. It would mean a great deal to me if you could extend summer just a wee bit more, thank you.
A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List
I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had him back.
I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak my child’s name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that he was important to you as well.
If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. My child’s death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.
I wish you wouldn’t “kill” my child again by removing his pictures, artwork, or other remembrances from your home.
Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you more than ever.
I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.
I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my child’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug.
I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.
I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that he is dead.
I wish you wouldn’t expect me “not to think about it” or to “be happy”. Neither will happen for a very long time so don’t frustrate yourself.
I don’t want to have a “pity party,” but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.
I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I’m feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.
When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t feel okay and that I struggle daily.
I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I’m having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.
Your advice to “take one day at a time” is excellent. I wish you could understand that I’m doing good to handle it all at an hour at a time.
I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with him. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.
I wish very much that you could understand – understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But I pray daily that you will never understand.