You may have noticed I’ve been a little quiet on my blog these days.
Writing takes my jumbled-up puzzle of feelings, and creates order from chaos, forming a picture I can understand and can communicate to others. “Finally,” I say after writing a post, “I know how I feel!”
But with the recent return of Z, I don’t feel like I can process through writing much. To me, it requires as much strength to recall the moment I put Z in the car to be sent away than the moment itself called for.
Going through through that experience required me to survive. To make it to the next breath, and the next moment, then the next minute and the next hour. It required my legs to walk when they wanted to buckle in grief. It required my heart to keep beating when I didn’t know how to live without this child. It required me to survive a trauma. Yes, a trauma I signed up for. But trauma nonetheless.
To write about it is not just to survive it, but to relive it. To make sense of it. To do more than just take it moment by moment until I have made it through.
Since that moment I said good-bye, my days are surrounded by mere surviving. Not so much by making sense of this life I find myself in.
Nights and mornings are hardest.
Long after dawn has broken, and brought with it a new day, I make my feet hit the floor. I have spent the last year and a half struggling out get all 3 kids out the door to be on time to school. Now, getting my kids out of the door is ridiculously easy. For the first time since Maddy has started Kindergarten, I find that getting to school on time is easy.
Sometimes, like today, I get back into bed after school drop off. This morning, I curled up with Z’s favorite animal the “el-phe-nant,” under a pile of warm, messy blankets, and watch a whole hour of Downton Abbey — trying so hard to forget that I had life waiting for me … No … demanding of me … that I give it attention.
At the very last minute, when my procrastination is beyond unreasonable, I force myself to take a shower as hot as I can stand it. After drying, I force myself to wear something that doesn’t reflect the mood I’m in. It works sort of. Ok barely.
Then I force myself to eat, and do whatever adulting I need to do.
And somehwhere in that middle of the day, I realize my afternoon wasn’t as dark and gloomy as I predicted in the late morning hour when I just wanted to cover myself with blankets.
And I somehow have gotten something accomplished … After all, I no longer have a very busy toddler who needs my constant attention going behind me, pulling out twice as much as I just picked up. Focus on a project for more than a few minutes at a time is completely novel to me (and not entirely unwelcomed).
But the moment my heart feels some light, I remember the sweet curly-haired boy who yelled “Mummy!!!!” whenever I came home and ran at me to give me the biggest hug.
The one who held his arms out to me so often with a plea on his lips “hold you?”
I would reach down my hands to his, and with monkey’s legs, he’d crawl up mine until he could wrap them around my waist. And so I would hold him, and he would hold me, for as long as I could do one-handed things. And when the time came that I must absolutely make use of my left hand, he would cry and cry and cry and try to monkey his way back up.
I remember the way he sang jingle bells and yelled “hey!” at the perfect time, throwing his hands up in abandon as though his favorite team (the Seahawks of course) had just scored a touchdown.
I remember the way he yelled “bottle” when he felt unsure of his world. It happened a lot those last few weeks. We would rock and rock and rock, he and I. There could be nothing better or sweeter.
I remember the way he danced everywhere he went. How amazing he was with balls. He could kick a soccer ball while running, keeping it in front of him the whole time. He’s tuck footballs under is arm, or throw them halfway across the room. He’d see a basketball and instantly try to dribble it. This kid just gets sports. It’s in his blood.
His “wuv you’s” and “miss you’s” and elephant noises and infectious love for life … all of it comes swarming back. And I am left speechless. Undone.
Somehow, we have survived almost a week without seeing him.
It is exactly like giving away your own child. And nothing like it. Because he was never truly my son, not in the legal or biological sense.
But in love and attachment? I fear I will never be able to love another child as I have loved him. He has ruined me in the best way.
All the while I question our future. His future. Will we see him again? Will mom be willing to let us be a part of his life in any way, no matter how small?
And can I ever do this again? This loving and letting go? Can I put our family through this?
I don’t know the answer right now. But one thing Ryan and I both agree on — is that we absolutely do not regret our time with Z. Even knowing the hurt of him leaving, we would go back and say “yes” all over again to this sweet little boy who for a time we called son.