Simply put, over recent weeks and months I think my son’s grieving process, for his mother, has actually started.
I always knew, or anticipated, his grief would be delayed. I mean, seven month olds don’t really miss anything but their food or backsides being wiped.
He’s been an oblivious rock for me, particularly immediately after Sam’s untimely death, he still is today, although he’s become canny enough to know it now.
But at this point, it really is my turn to try and return that very sad favour.
Samantha has always been a part of our lives.
I’ve tried to include her, subtly, around the home and in what we get up to.
We make her things at playgroups and at home.
There are pictures around of us all together, and plenty of my beautiful wife looking, well, beautiful.
And there are stories that go along with each of these photos.
Like – that’s mommy mauling puppies at the rabbit farm you like so much.
I’ve also named a star after Max’s mommy.
We have a lovely framed certificate, which is awaiting hanging in my child’s funky new room.
It’s there to look over him, and us, much as the actual star is.
A top cyber friend pointed me in the direction of another young widower, and one of his brilliant posts has actually got me revisiting ways of getting my son to know his mother, without it being too laboured to tiresome.
Anyway, when talking to my inquisitive son about where his mother actually is, I’ve tried not to shy from the truth.
She died son.
But she gave you a very good start, and will always be part of you. You keep her in your heart and head, and if you ever want to see or talk to her, just close your eyes and think about her or what you want to tell her, she’ll be right there, with you, always.
This has upset him recently, but as a positive, I believe it is demonstrating his growing understanding. Something he was struggling with only a few weeks ago.
I think I’d only actually managed to teach him pigeon fashion that his mommy was in his heart, but he didn’t really get what that sentiment meant.
Kids around us also get very interested in, and a few have asked about max’s mom.
Sometimes to their own parents, sometimes to me, and tonight, for the first time within my ear-shot, directly to my son.
We were visiting some of our new village chums. They have children who also go to the same nursery as my little treasure.
Their delightful daughter must have got sick of seeing me, and thus decided to enquire if there may be a better option.
“Where’s your mommy Max?” Came the high-pitched question, which brought about at least two sharp intakes of breath amongst the parents in the room.
“She died, but she’s still part of me, and I keep her in here,” said my ever-so proud little star while pointing to where his heart should be.
In front of his ever-so proud dad.
And two exhaling, somewhat relieved, others.
Monday, 28 July 2008
Simply put, over recent weeks and months I think my son’s grieving process, for his mother, has actually started.
Friday, 25 July 2008
Politeness costs nothing, other than time, cunningly.
Out in the sticks people seem to have courtesy down to a T. Life appears effortless for the varst [sic] majority.
Even if they have one millions kids to maintain, therefore one million and one bedrooms to clean, and things to do.
I’d always like to think that I am well mannered, in the main.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have a very mean streak, and I can do curt to a Simon Cowell standard.
But generally I can hold my own in most social circles.
I’d hoped that any offspring of mine would also be well mannered, or at least well meaning.
Junior is certainly gearing up that way, not without fault, but show me a well balance three-year old that is.
Like for example, today, he kept checking if his friends wanted a drink or a share of whatever else he was helping himself to while they were in his home.
That is good stuff in my ink pad.
Thing is, he hasn’t quite cracked the village etiquette just yet.
On our most recent walk to the village park, we were engaged by one of the wonderfully organised villagers who was grooming his hedge and washing his car, virtually simultaneously.
This was fine, my child and I kept up our end of the brief exchange, I think.
However our visit to the park was cut a tad short, as Max needed to perform the more serious of the bodies’ toilet functions.
Our brand new say-hello-to-chum was still in his front garden, and enquired of my son if he’d had a jolly good time.
“Brilliant, but now I have to poop.” Was the succinct yet still a bit-too-much-information reply.
I love my boy. As I’m sure will our local community.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
School, or more specifically in my case, nursery holidays, are an absolute blast.
We are trying to stick to the normal daily routine as much as possible, same bed time, bath routine, diet, carrot and stick parenting.
Thing is, add to that finding a multitude of things to do and people to do them with, without breaking our very delicate bank, makes for a very difficult puzzle.
Since the move Max has been, and is still on, catch up.
I think he needs a solid summer of great days out and great nights sleep to get his body clock well and truly serviced.
This first week of the summer break has been fit for purpose thus far.
We’ve been out with some of Max’s friends from nursery and there are more activities scheduled.
A family birthday rocked the routine boat a little last night. We were out till well after bed-time, and it meant Max needed a bath this morning prior to our really nice day out with a friend from nursery.
But, as Max was later into bed, it doesn’t take a genius to work out he needed more time in his pit this morning, however I needed to magic some more time to add bathing to the morning to-do list.
I really needed a proper genius at this point, and, as usual, I got one.
“Daddy, just press your watch and change into Four-Arms.”
And just like the fictional Ben Tennyson, I pressed my watch, but alas the second pair of hands did not materialise.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Well, we’ve got the internet on. Which is no mean feat, I tell you.
The plumbing also works, albeit at the hopefully temporary expense of a few holes in the ceiling.
I’ve got a lot of respect for tradesmen, or women, mainly because I can’t really build, mend or modify much with my hands.
That said, my plumber appears unable to plumb, thus that respect has long gone.
Still, he thinks I’m giving him a hard time now, but I await his reaction to my actions once I’m happy the system is running without fault.
The dodgy plumbing hasn't hindered my child settling nicely into his new home.
It has surprised me how unsettled he got. But then it is a great deal to take in.
The building site, the place we’ve visited almost daily for over six months, suddenly became home, even though in part it still looks akin to a building site.
Then it’s getting used to the new surroundings, new bedroom, new bathroom, garden and then there is the routine. Where we eat our meals, brush our teeth and where our clothes are kept.
Max and I had the eat-at-the-table-please row, in our first week here.
In our rented place, we only had one table, and at times it was in use for other things like paperwork, toy sets and being a general dumping ground.
This meant, at times, we would eat from a tray or use Max’s little table in front of the TV.
Here it is different.
We have the room to dedicate a table for eating. Thus, we do.
I had to put my foot down to make sure that child got this.
And he certainly did.
At Friday tea time, we had the grandparents with us, and also the plumber.
I was trying to put the plumber, and plumbing, right, which meant I didn’t make the table for 5.30, even though I managed to get stuff onto it for everyone else.
Then it came, the tap on the shoulder.
“Daddy, daddy,” I heard in a familiar angelic voice.
“Are you OK son? Do you need a drink?” I turned to enquire.
“No Daddy, it’s tea-time, and YOU'RE not at the table.”
He’s got it, the little smart-arse.
Monday, 7 July 2008
Forget that question.
I probably won’t get access to the interweb-thingy properly for a long piece of string to look at any replies.
Anyway, we’ve been moving, shouting at plumbers, getting colds, and generally putting more in our face holes than we can sensibly gnaw on.
Man do I still hate moving.
Even when you are moving to the most fantastic place it is still the most irritating experience this side of trying to get a new phone line and internet connection.
Max was poorly on the main moving day.
It seems whenever he gets over-excited, he then becomes vulnerable to any sort of cold.
He was really helpful in the morning. Charming the people in the van hire place, loading sofa cushions – as we lumped the sofa, but generally being a useful part of the moving malarkey.
But, by the afternoon he’d snuggled into his improvised bed and didn’t move much further.
It’s at times like this that I can’t hide away from the fact of being a single parent family.
I couldn’t really stop what I was doing and be at his side all the time, I had to get on with what I was doing and pop back to check on him, while his grandmothers, between them, filled the role of bedside nurse.
Stress, stress, stress. I hate it when he’s ill. And to be ill during a move, would be very high on the list of imaginary scenarios I would never like to happen.
Still, Calpol took down his temperature, and he really didn’t complain or get upset.
By the morning we’d moved all the big stuff we needed to, and junior was much brighter.
The settling-in process is ongoing, and the to-do list is similar.
I hope normal service, or much like our new gaff, an improved and better service, is resumed shortly.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
And I don’t mean a day where a father takes his child to a Wacky Warehouse or McDonalds.
When kids just want their dad all day long, for whatever desire, body function and whim they have.
This isn’t limited to fathers at all. I know children will want certain people, or even other children, otherwise you get the water works.
But my child has had a few days when only his dad, moi, will do.
I’ve actually tried to limit this in my offspring, and also in myself.
I know we’re always going to be important in each others lives, the most important I hope, but I didn’t want either of us to become over-reliant on one another.
It was one of my fears that I would raise a child that I could either, not be without, or be living through, and said child not be able to function without me physically by his side.
There’s a real limit to this sort of thing, and I hope I’ve got it just right.
Max is generally comfortable in the care of others, and we spend a healthy amount of time apart, doing our own thing.
Overnight stays elsewhere are reasonably regular and I even went on a five day skiing trip earlier this year, and that seemed to go well for both of us.
That is until a little over a week ago, and we were leaving one of our fairly regular outing places, and I innocently read out the come back soon sign aloud.
This triggered a crying explosion in the booster seat next to me, and it took some extended interrogation to discover why.
My young son thought that I was ‘leaving and coming back soon,’ rather than us, as a collective, to the museum.
“Like when you went skiing daddy, I didn’t like it, you went away,” he informed me.
Strange that he remembered and associated the two, and it’s the first time he’s complained about me going away, delayed reaction and a bit random indeed.
Then this week, he’s been a bit clingy. Usually a sign of him being unwell or coming down with something. But as yet, there has been no other signs.
Being totally honest, I think, or hope, he’s being quite perceptive and realised that daddy has needed a little extra affection.
I’ve been a tincy-wincy bit stressed with the whole build/theft/move combo. So, lets just say, or type, it’s done me no harm in this instance.
And, as a positive I think it will actually work in my favour and help with the move. Max should enjoy being in charge with his dad.
Wow, that’s a much longer post than usual, my apologies, if you’ve actually got this far.
Now, be off with you.