REAL Conversations at our house…

We celebrated Christmas early this year, as our married kids are at in-laws for their Christmases.  It was a wonderful day full of laughter, lots of laughter, and presents, and food, and playing.  The littles often come find me wherever I am, which obviously makes my heart melt.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for them to come get me and ask to go back to my sitting room (where I usually am) and snuggle them in my glider chair.  They’ll both sit on my lap, playing games on my phone and iPad, while I gently rock them.  Sometimes they bring toys back to just simply play on my floor so they can be near me.  For a broken Oma, I can’t even explain how much I enjoy this.  When I’m unable to do so many things, the fact that they still love to be around me gives life joy.

Sometimes we forget how children process information.  Sometimes it’s hilarious when we realize what our words have done in their minds.  And sometimes it breaks our hearts.  Yesterday, I was feeling a little better than some days, and the older kids weren’t letting me do a whole lot so that I could stay and participate in the family activities longer than I usually do.  So I had been able to go up and down the stairs a few times, and play on the floor with the littles and just enjoy the day.  One of the times I’d gone back to my room to rest and try to get on top of pain, Bentley had came bearing toys and settled down on my floor to play.

It wasn’t long before we had this exchange…

Bentley:  Oma, can you come on the floor and play with me?
Oma (me):  Yeah, I think I could for just a few minutes, but I have to be careful so I don’t hurt myself.
B: Why you hurt yourself?
O: Oh I’m okay, I just can’t get on the floor much because it’s too hard for me to get back up and my body doesn’t work very well right now because it’s sick.  And I don’t want to go back to the hospital.
B: Why?
O:  Well, because I like to be home where I can be near my family.  I miss you when I’m at the hospital.

…There was a pause in conversation at this point, and we just kept crashing our cars and laughing hysterically, but after a minute…

B: So you were playing with a other kid on the floor and it make you sick and that’s why you go to the hospital?

I wish I could explain the sadness in his voice, the concern, the confusion.  I guess you had to hear it.  But it broke my heart that what I had said he had processed in a way that almost scared him, like it would be his fault if I went back to the hospital.  I answered him in a sentence or two, but the fear and concern and sadness did not go away.  This is the baby I bonded with deeply because I wasn’t as sick then and I was able to babysit him and hold him, and play with him on a regular basis.  So I can feel his concern for me sometimes when we snuggle, and I wish I could take that from him but I can’t.  I realized that his play had slowed down, and he remained quiet and not laughing and it struck me that my answer had not satisfied him, so I explained some more while he quietly listened and rolled his cars around gently, and finally he was okay, and we went back to hysterical laughter and playing and crashing his matchbox cars.  

But I wonder.  

Will he remember this?  Because I will forever.

Bentley

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