I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve spent the last two years explaining hard things to my son. Why he can’t go to school and be with his friends. Why he can’t have playdates or birthday parties. Why we have to be careful. Why sometimes he still can’t go to school. Why we still have to be careful. I was starting to feel like I’d mastered those things, but what happens when “normal” reappears and brings its own set of hard things? This is what’s on the horizon for my family and my child. Not global things that affect the entire world, but personal things that affect just us. Things that will feel overwhelming to his little heart. And, I’m not really sure where to begin.
We’ve been so focused on explaining the world to him these last two years that we haven’t had much experience explaining life.
I’ve always felt very strongly that life isn’t about settling or being static. Life is about growing and becoming. Maybe it’s about becoming a different kind of family. My son has only ever known one kind. Maybe it’s about growing into new roles with one another; becoming stronger, better people for him. Maybe it’s about how honest love can transform us in ways we never imagined, ways that might seem scary at first but will ultimately bring profound peace and possibility to our lives.
Those are big words for a little heart to comprehend though.
Big changes. So, how do you explain these hard things to a little heart? I want him – no, I need him – to understand that deep down, underneath masks and hand sanitizer and global pandemics, life keeps going. It will keep handing us challenges that we have to face and embrace and love through. As a mother, it’s terrifying explaining these things. What if I don’t say it right? What if I can’t help him understand why this is happening? What if he’s in therapy 20 years from now talking about it? What if the only thing he learns is to carry grief around for the rest of his life like a suitcase he never unpacks? Navigating change and loss is so foreign to little hearts. It’s foreign to big hearts too, but we don’t really have a choice, do we? They’re a part of life. We maneuver in and out of them and against them and through them. We handle the hard things the best we can, whether we’re nine or 49 or 90.
When the conversations and questions come, and they will, how do we explain hard things to a little heart? Do we simply sit down, hold on, and begin? I don’t know. I don’t have the first clue how to start that journey with my son. And, while the unknown fills my Mama heart with fear, I’ll take a deep breath and find a lion’s strength in knowing this.