God gave me courage today. I think it blessed a friend, which makes me doubly grateful.
Bozeman (and other areas of MT) are under a flood warning. Of all the crazy things...apparently the super high temps (in the 80s today!) after a long, wet, snowy spell (long = six months) leads to rapid snowmelt, excessive runoff, and potential flooding. On the up side, I get to finally put pretty flowers in all my pots tomorrow. At least I'm keeping things in perspective.
My Mothers Day included writing little notes to a few of the mothers I know and love, because I like to extend the mother love well into the week. As I told them, I think of it as "thoughtful," not "forgetful." We were in Billings to visit my dear friends and their wee preemie twin boys at St. V's. As I was getting ready for church, I heard a knock on the bathroom door....
B: "Momma? Mom?"
A: "Yes Blake?"
B: "Um, Mom?"
A: "YES Blake?" (we do this A LOT at home...he calls me over and over and over but never has anything to say)
B: "Well, can you open the door?"
I open the door to find him grinning from ear to ear, my mother behind him, helping him to hold the tray with flowers, card, coffee, and a few pancakes (artfully arranged with a slivered strawberry). "Happy Mother's Day!" he crowed, proud as could be. I oohed and ahhed, admired the card, and thanked him for my breakfast with a wink at Grammie. His expression turned from gleeful to annoyed..."No, Mom," pointing to the pancakes, "that's mine."
Blake's taken to calling me "Mom" more often than "Momma." I'm not sure why, and I'm not sure if I like it. It makes him sound like he's all grown up and ready to start shaving, disagreeing with everything I say, and moving to college in the fall. I don't think I'm ready for that...unless he's still not potty-trained, in which case I will pack all his bags.
I took a friend's advice and am giving Pull-Ups a try (as opposed to diapers). Apparently, it's supposed to be easier to change them, since you can do it all while they are standing up. Well, maybe it's easier when the kid is actually TRYING to be potty-trained. When they are not, there is nothing easier about changing a diaper while the child is standing. In fact, it can be a whole lot messier, and in all the icky ways that make me glad I own Clorox products. Also, diapers have little Velcro sides that you can then wrap the offending mess up in tightly...Pull-Ups DO NOT. I get everything all contained...and there's no way to keep it contained! Yelling "Stay!" at it didn't work, I can tell you that much.
Blake's started preschool, which he loves, and about which I'm ambivalent. I'm glad he likes it, but the barely controlled chaos (as I see it) has me a bit perturbed - not enough to pull him out, but enough to wonder if they could find my phone number if need be. However, in the two weeks he's gone, he's had lots more questions about daddies and brothers (apparently no interest in sisters). He's called a friend from church "brother's dad" or just "dad," which was just awkward for me and for poor John, who was surely simply feeling sympathetic for me and my confused kiddo...but it's still awkward. Another friend, when Blake was playing with his children, became "other dad." Just yesterday, he told me that Papaw was his dad.
A: "No, honey, Papaw's MY dad. Your dad is Daddy Blake, he loves you VERY much, but he's in heaven with Jesus, and we don't get to see him now."
B: "No, I BLAKE."
A: "Yes, you're Blake, but I named you 'Blake' after your daddy. Daddy's name is Blake too!"
B: "Oh, but my daddy died."
And so on. He gets it, but he doesn't get it. Our dear friend, Ellese, has apparently been asking more questions about it - having a daddy, she's trying to wrap her head around the idea of NOT having a daddy. She's asked Keli (her mom & my friend) why Blake's daddy wanted to die in the avalanche. Keli explained that one, and Ellese asked if Keli and Zach had known Blake's daddy.
K: "Yes, we knew Blake's daddy, and we loved him. He was our good friend. You met him too, when you were very little. Blake's daddy even held you when you were a baby!"
E: "Where was Blake when his daddy died?"
K: "Blake was still in his mommy's tummy."
E: "Oh...that was a really sad time, wasn't it?"
The discernment of a three and a half-year-old takes my breath away. I'm puzzled at how to better explain this to my little buddy...but maybe it's better that he doesn't really get it. By the time he's old enough for it to all sink in, maybe he'll be better equipped to handle any grief he has to bear because of it. Like another friend shared, this isn't my story. It's his. While it just about kills me that he has a need I cannot fill or even do much about, I can't micro-manage everything that comes his way, prevent every hurt...and I especially cannot shield him from the minefield that I sense just on the horizon.
But God help me, I will try.