Posted by: alegra22 | August 15, 2011

unconditional

Beneath the settling of the house, the fading of the day’s shouts, laughter, competing demands for attention and justice, the thump thump of Sol’s footsteps move down the hallway. Even in the dark, separated by a wall, I recognize the rhythms and weight of my children trying to find their way to me.

Zaviera moves with a soft step – shuffle that might zigzag but is never lost. Sometimes she moves as if skating along the surface. Occasionally she walks into walls, muttering to herself.

Sol is deliberate. He moves in a straight line. His weight always meets the floor. Thump thump thump.

Joaquin runs. His momentum carrying him with a blind faith in his own body and need.

Sol’s hair is a mess of tossing and turning but he stands before me and starts the conversation as if we’ve made an appointment in the middle of the night to discuss important matters.

“Mommy, I need to have a little talk with you. There is something I realized I need to tell you.”

I motion to the couch but Sol is already climbing up, sitting with his back straight, his forehead furrowed.

“I need you to know that every night when you hum me to sleep, I have sad feelings. It doesn’t matter if it’s you or daddy humming me, I feel sad every night before I fall asleep.”

In the silence between us, I become smaller. I become the memory of nights beneath a rainbow bedspread surrounded by the worn bodies of stuffed animals, feeling the world stretch and stretch beyond a dark horizon. I become the solemn shadow of gravestones, the impersonal movement of strangers moving behind closed curtains, the whisper of water moving endlessly over stones beneath the full moon. It is a memory full of loneliness.

“Why are you sad?” I reach out to him but he doesn’t yield, so I fold my hands in my lap and wait.

“I don’t know. I don’t understand it.”

It is difficult for me to not put words in his mouth but I want to hear the truth more than I want to be handed something I can fix.

A few minutes pass and I offer, “I’m sorry you feel sad, sweetheart.”

“It’s because I’m worried about next year. I want to be seven already but stay in the same classroom. I keep worrying that when I go to the new classroom and the new house Daddy won’t be able to find me and I won’t be able to find Daddy. I’m worried he’ll take a really long time and I’ll be lost. That’s why I feel sad.”

I feel relief that it is a topic we’ve addressed before, something I can reassure him about. I can offer him a plan: Don’t worry, we will go over the route to your new classroom so that you know where everything is…

Now that he’s named his sadness, his body softens. He leans into me, his head on my shoulder. I begin to hum to him. He doesn’t flick his fingers or rub his toes together, trying to get the ‘funny’ feelings out of them. He is calm.

I think about the day and the way it made me feel when the building inspector said, “This house has great bones. It’s in really, really good condition.” I felt a sense of solidity, a coming home. As we drove away from our future home, I said to Dan, “It feels like it’s been waiting for us. I can’t wait to move in and start loving it.”

Tonight our future has gone unconditional.

I hold my child, grateful that I can house him in the comfort of my arms and words, and that events have conspired to bring us to a place he can find his way home to.

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Responses

  1. We found a home that felt that way when our children were about the age of your youngest. I always told everyone, it’s not a house, it’s a home. I cried many a night when we had to leave it 12 years later. I’m glad you’ve found your home. Lovely way to express it.

  2. Good heavens, you are brilliant…..this made me cry.

  3. It seems that when you are a parent you start to learn so many new skills OR relearn skills that you had forgotten.

    Sol’s sadness reminds me of my own situation right now. I have a great sense of sadness and I can’t figure out exactly why?? I have plenty of reasons, but It’s really difficult for me right now to figure out which one is the cause of this sadness.

    to many things happening at once for me.

    You are able to help Sol out with calmness and patience. And it makes it so much easier when you can see that you have helped him relax and diminish his anxiousness. You and DC do such a wonderful job!!


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