Saturday, December 22, 2012

Families

So this quarter, munchkin has been studying families in school.  They take care in class to recognize that families are different.   I appreciate that-however, I am wondering why on earth they are spending so much time on this topic?

This process has been hard for me...I have taken care to not label us as "different".  I have taken great care to keep us as "normal" as possible.  I answer his questions when he asks them...which up until now, has been sporadic at best. 

Lately, it has been a near daily topic. 

Mommy, I want daddy back.
Munchkin, people can't come back from Heaven
Mommy, but everyone else has a daddy in class, can you go get me a new daddy?
Munchkin, it doesn't work that way. 
Mommy, can you just go back and marry daddy again?
Munchkin, I can't marry daddy again as much as I would like to, he is in Heaven and no matter how much we love and miss him he can't come back.
Mommy, it isn't fair that daddy is an angel.
Munchkin, you are right, it isn't fair, but it will be ok.

uhhh...not sure which is more unsettling as an adult.   The fact that his little heart and brain want Robert back from the dead, or that he thinks a "new daddy"  would make it better.   While my brain knows that he is simply trying to fit us "in" to the mold of his classmates, it doesn't really help. 

What strikes me is that I have to have this conversation with a FIVE YEAR OLD!  When I was five, I recall playing in our play room with my brother, making cookies with my mom and playing in the yard with dad.   I remember preschool and kindergarten--well I mostly remember the cardboard bricks.   I don't remember having any deep conversations with my parents.  We had people in our family die, but not in our immediate family.   I remember being carefree.  

What cuts to the core of my heart, is that my son has an understanding of loss.  He has experienced pain that many people go decades without even considering.  Even if he doen't express it as pain per se, he is learning as he grows how unique we are.

Maybe in my attempt to make him feel like we are normal I have done him a disservice.  Perhaps I am pretending to be normal, to be whole.  Maybe what I should do is embrace our "un-normal" situation.   Really, it is not normal to watch your spouse die in front of you.   It is not a choice that I would expect anyone to make. 

For him it isn't normal for a parent to be widowed.   He has some classmates that have divorced parents--but the kids still have TWO parents on EARTH.  They get to hang out with their dads even if they live with their moms.  He is the only kid in his class that has an angel for a parent and while I realize that it makes us special, for now, in this unit when studying with his peers, it makes him different.  Somehow, it is my job to make different ok.