It has been ages since I’ve written. I did great for a solid year or so. I wrote at least once a week filling pages with stories about my mother, my son, my work travels. I don’t know if I have run out of stories or time. I hope it is just time. Max has been asking a lot about my mother. He is fascinated that she is dead and that I miss her. At least once a day he confirms that yes, my mother died and asks me if I miss her. My answer is always the same…yes, I miss her very much. He asks why we can’t go see her, and I tell him it is because she is in heaven up in the clouds. He has surmised that this is why I fly on planes so much. He might not be all that far off.
Two things happened when I had my child that I did not expect. First and foremost, I learned what it means to love someone with your whole heart. I had never, until I Had Max, loved someone to the point of pain. It is painful at times how much I love this child. This evening, I was in an airport restaurant and a mother, three children and a grandmother walked in. The children were young, maybe 5, 6, and 7. The 5 year old boy fell down while walking to the table and started wailing. I noticed he had a cast on his arm, a blue one just like the one Max had. I missed Max so much at that moment that I almost threw up. Although I was only on a day trip away from home, I felt the space between us like it was a living, breathing being, gnawing at my heart. It is in those moments that I think, if something were to happen to Max, I would be unable to muster the will to live. My heart would turn to ash and blow from my body. A love that powerful and strong is frightening. I had no idea, before I had Max, that I would love him so deeply and wholly.
The other thing I did not expect was the surge of emotion that would rise from my own childhood and intersperse with the milestones in his life. Last week, Max’s school was closed. They offered Holiday Care at $150 for the week. Holiday Care. It sounded so fun and fluffy. Monday morning rolled around and I dressed Max in play clothes instead of his uniform and packed his lunch and headed for school. When I got there, Holiday Care was anything but festive. The school was a ghost town and Holiday Care was three kids of varying ages sitting in a small room being marginally supervised by a tired looking stranger. Max did not know any of the kids and he did not want to stay in that room. Instead, he kept asking where his teachers were and where his friends were. I tried to explain that this was a special week at school and they were going to have “FUN!” But really, this was a hard sell. Even I cringed at the thought of sitting in that small room with a total stranger.
I could not do it. I could not leave my child there. I told the guy, who couldn’t have cared any less, that my husband just got off work and we would be leaving, but surely we’d be back tomorrow. And then tomorrow rolled around and again, I could not being my sweet boy to the toddler version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Life is hard for me because it involves interacting with people. I try not to burden my child with my neuroses, but shit, what else am I supposed to do? When you love someone so much that your very existence is dependent on theirs, what else can you do?
I swore up and down that I would be a different kind of mother than my own, that I would not be so over protective, that I would be trusting and encourage independence. I used to accuse my mother of being paranoid and telling us tales to scare us into submission. But now I know, she was protecting her heart. I can hear my dear sweet mother laughing at me as I fly through the clouds.