It’s been almost 6 days since I have seen my boo. I’ve learned a lot of things in those 6 days – a quick, hard, University of Life experience I never applied for and didn’t want to attend.
In 6 days God created the world, they say. Well, I did too, in a way. A new world for me. And a new world for boo.
My world is now near-free of dread. I don’t mean the “damn, tomorrow is Monday and I have to go to work” dread. I mean the dread that lives inside you and owns you. The kind that makes you steel-stiff & come unglued – the kind that’s unrelenting, ubiquitous – there all at once, all the time, even in your dreams, for whatever the reason. ‘Capital D’ Dread. It’s gone. I am not going to randomly show up at work with scratches on my arms & face and I am not going to trudge into LensCrafters again and again with broken glasses to have them repaired by S, who I’ve seen so many times we are almost-friends. She told me she uses my story at work as an example of what their optional “protection plan” can be like, and for whom it can be downright necessary.
And of, course, no more dread of Jonah going away – of counting weeks, days, clinging to him even as he tries to bite or hit me, longing to keep him at our side. That dread is gone too, and it’ feels like setting down a load of bricks I’ve been carrying, sharp and hot in the summer sun.
From what Anderson School has told me, Jonah is acclimating well and more quickly than expected. He adores their playground, their pool, and all his caregivers. They e-mail, talk to us on the phone, send pictures (here’s another one),
and communicate with compassion and understanding, even though you know their days have to be difficult and tiring at best. Some have told me how they have already grown to like him a lot. I am grateful. How happy he looks in the pictures they send!
And all this support, from everywhere – people I know, people who read my blog, teachers and friends, co-workers and relatives — it is overwhelming and humbling.
A mystery person even left flowers for me and a bottle of water for the flowers on top of my air conditioner outside the apartment:
That was pretty cool.
I miss my boo, but I know I have made it over the mountain. Jonah will too. And Andy. I know it. I feel very blessed.
If I were asked to give advice based on other things I’ve learned quick & hard, I would say:
1) Don’t get all mercenary and clingy with possessions, money, or anything else. Watch “The Gods Must Be Crazy” (even if you’ve seen it before) and it will remind you why.
2) Everything is impermanent. True story.
3) Judgment of others is wasteful arrogance, and the judgment almost never assesses its target correctly.
4) Kindness is never a mistake. When in doubt, be kind. Choose it every time and you will never be wrong. Do kindness. Not just when the opportunity crosses your path. Practice conscious kindness. It comes back to you. Trust me. In amazing, incredible, miraculous ways -often when you least expect it and most need it.
5) Calm the hell down when driving, running, working, going shopping, dealing with children, people you like and dislike. Just calm the hell down. Breathe deeply. For God’s sake, breathe.
6) Love. Love as much and as hard and as completely as you can. If you have lost someone and still care for them, love them anyway – even if they’ll never know it. Love the seasons, the cold and the rain as well as the sun and the warmth. Help someone. Do something. Care! Don’t watch the news and shake your head and say that’s too bad. Find ways to make a difference, even if it’s just to one person.
Before I get carried away, and I suppose I could type all day, I want to say I have not conquered these lessons – only that I believe them to be true and my goal is to follow them, as much as possible, from now on.
Oh – and one from my dad:
Before you say something to someone, ask yourself if it is true and if it will benefit the other person in any positive way. If not, don’t say it.
That’s a good one, dad.
My father’s doing volunteer work now; he drives people to the food pantry in a van, which makes me prouder of him than anything else he could do. He also is letting me live my life and make my own decisions, something which must be difficult for him, because he loves me and doesn’t want to see me hurt. He has had to trust my smarts and my own judgment, and he’s doing it all while still remaining supportive.
My mom is counting the minutes til we go see her precious grandson – I think we’ll go for a picnic next Saturday with him if it is nice, and Jonah can play on the playground. She has been an enormous support, especially for Andy, when no one else was. She has opened her home to Jonah (and whomever is watching him) over and over and over again, withstood a broken TV and other household items, scratches, tantrums, bathwater splashed everywhere, and toys scattered about. She is a true testament to the love between a grandmother and her grandson.
Andy is proving both courageous and Superdad by moving so close to Jonah, so he can see him (and oversee him) as much as possible. Although we are separating, I will never choose to remember the bad things. Only the good – his kind heart and earnest, helpful spirit that always, unfailingly, reaches out to others when they need anything at all. Here is a man who, quite literally, would give you the shirt off his back, and I will always love him.
I don’t know how this turned into an awards ceremony but if I am going to spend paragraphs giving mom, dad, and Andy kudos, then I certainly cannot forget M – the man who holds me so close in his arms I am completely coated in love…the man who took so many days off work to be there, with or for me, time and time again…the man who slept between Jonah and me on a cold hard floor at a psychiatric center for three nights just to protect me…the man who drove 40 minutes to visit me every day at yet another psychiatric center, bringing colorfully beautiful flowers when I’d gone suicidal…the man who came with me several times a week for months to help me watch Jonah, taking on the tantrums and scratches and screams of a child not his own — all because he loved Jonah’s mother in spite of everything. The one I go places with, read to, watch movies and take long rides and visit the Almanzo Wilder Farm with. The man I love.
Here are some pictures from when we visited the farm one day this week, just for respite, traveling slowly through the Adirondacks until stepping reverently over the threshold of Laura‘s husband’s childhood home (yes, I am that into them):
Me, grinning under the historical sign
This massive tree is thought to be 200 years old. Almanzo climbed it!
…and his home, restored.
I have a dozen or more pictures but I mustn’t forget that I can always start a Laura Ingalls Wilder blog and ramble on about her there.
It was a peaceful, pleasant day. Some weird part of me feels like this week off work is over and so not only will I be going back to work but to the Jonah routine too. This has not really hit me quite yet, I think. And there are definitely two sides to this coin – loss/pain and relief/freedom. I hadn’t even thought about the second side, really, in a positive way, but my therapist has helped me with perspective, so finally there is very little associated guilt, which I was full of…thoughts like “I shouldn’t be having a good time since I sent my boy to live in a home.” No. We should all be having a good life. We all deserve to be happy. Jonah too. Jonah especially!
Please continue to send good energies and prayers to my little Boo. (I can’t wait to hug him)!
And once again, my prayer is simply thank you.