Wednesday, May 15, 2013

You, Too, Could Learn From a 3-Year Old

It is so hard to comprehend that Avery, my sweet, smiling, climb on my lap even though she's in 5th grade and all arms and legs, precious little girl is gone. Gone. Never to come back. There is no waiting for summer camp to end, no picking up late night from a friend's house, no after the semester ends or training is over or mission completed. I walk into her room like a thousand other times and ... what? What do I really think is going to happen? I touch the top pillow, the one with the self-decorated pillowcase she brought to gymnastics camp. I run my hand along the top of her dresser. I think about how a 3-year old mind can't possibly remember all the giggles and the way a big sister wiped his chin. I look at the clothes hanging in the closet; think about her favorite shorts. And mine. They weren't the same. She looked beautiful in both.

Today, I was looking across the living room to a shelf that held a framed photo of Avery. She wasn't yet two. So incredibly innocent. Her brother looks so much like her it's almost scary. Brody looked at me, asking, "why are you so sad, Mom?" (I'm sad far too often, I think.) "Oh, I was just looking at a picture of Avery and was missing her." He looked at me while I dabbed at my eyes. I don't shy away from my tears, but I try not to let them last. "I'll come give you a hug and a kiss and you'll feel better, ok?"

If only it were that easy.

And, yet, it is exactly that easy.

This little three year old knows only that his Mama is hurting. That sometimes, the hurt he can't understand or put words to, creeps in, knocks her down, sometimes even kicks her while she lays there. He doesn't know how to stop it, or if it will ever stop, yet he doesn't get frustrated or angry or annoyed. He doesn't get embarrassed, or walk the other way, or sigh, or shake his head because he thinks this has gone on long enough. He simply looks into my eyes and asks if I'm okay. Knowing he can't fix things he does only what he knows how to do: he gives a hug. I am here, he is saying through his tender, toddler embrace. I will hold you through your tears.