There are those moments in life when reality rears its ugly head and interrupts my happy little existence. Hearing about the devastation in Haiti was one of those moments. Today was one of those moments, too. As I sat in therapy listening to my son talk matter of factly about the death of his mother, I was overwhelmed with a sense of how screwed up the world really is. Kids shouldn't have a personal story that involves death and fear and pain. And they definitely shouldn't tell the story as if they were talking about their day at school.
I'm not having a new revelation. It's just something that's easy to lose sight of as I make dinner and pick kids up at school and supervise the daily chaos. I don't look at my kids on a daily basis and ponder the pain they've experienced in their short lives. I look at them and think that I wish they would obey the first time I ask or that they look funny in the red clown wig. I think about how blessed I am to be their mom. What I can quickly forget is that my blessing came at a terrible price: a mother who didn't live to see her kids grow up, a father who had to make an unbelievably difficult decision, kids whose lives have been turned upside down and now need to be pieced back together.
By the time it was my turn to hold my sweet boy and tell him how I felt about what he said today, I couldn't hold back the tears. I told him that it made me so sad to know that he was probably scared when his Liberian ma died. I told him that it made me so sad to know that she didn't have the chance to see her kids grow up. I told him it made me happy to know that his Liberian pa wanted to take care of him so much that now I get to have 3 beautiful kids.
I felt like a baby for crying all over my son, but it was actually good. His reaction to my tears took us to a new level, and now we know what we need to work on in our next session. And as much as it hurts, it's good for me to remember that life is hard and the world is a disaster and I know the only one who can look at the mess and make sense of it.