Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Mommy, I'm going to die tomorrow."

As boys do, whether you sequester them in a room full of flowers and peace signs or not, they were playing "killing the bad guys dead," or something of the sort. I don't remember the exact words. But I do remember the words that came out of my three year old's mouth next.
"Mommy, I'm going to die tomorrow." he said.
"What?" I sputtered without thinking. He simply nodded his head.
Now the "Inspired Parent" would simply ask why, or what had him say that...get into his world. I admit I was not inspired at that moment. I was freaking out just a little bit.
See, my boys have been known to say prophetic stuff. Ben once shouted out "One thousand dollars!" from a different room, just when I was thinking it would be great to have a "thousand dollar day" in sales for my business. And I did.
That wasn't the only time either. Bodee just KNOWS things, his brain is uncanny sometimes. Even Bronson has an intuition beyond his years.
Kids know stuff.
So when he said that he was going to die tomorrow, my brain screeched into reverse, to rewind, tried to erase and couldn't. What if what he just said was a prophecy? What if.... I couldn't fathom it. I asked him not to talk like that. He opened his eyes wide just for a second, meaningfully, nodded and kept playing. I was completely unraveled, and walked away wondering what I had on the calendar for tomorrow. I immediately planned to just stay home in the morning and was relieved we were simply walking to the neighbors or pool time in the afternoon. That was safe enough, walking...but at the pool I knew I would be extra alert.

I was also aware that I was the one, not him, making those words mean anything. They were just words. He might not even really know what it means, besides something bad. Or he might know, (he has experienced Great Grandma dying) and be saying them just for effect, just like he says "Mommy I can fly," or "Mommy I am going to get that panda for a pet tomorrow," when he is looking at a real one at the zoo. Yeah, right son. But say those other words, the ones about dying, and suddenly I am panicking inside and being extra vigilant.

After a while I let go of the fear. I chose not to let it turn me into a harpy for the next 24 hours. I began to soften and just get present to my sons. When Bronson came in for a snuggle, I snuggled, smoothing his soft brown hair with extra tenderness, and kissing his slightly sunburned cheeks until he squirmed away with glee. I tickled him for good measure and let him crawl under the mommy tunnel that my knees made when propping up the lap top in my lap even though it made it really challenging to write. I let him pull the pillows off the sofa for the the third time that day and build a nest. I acknowledged his brothers for playing nicely with him and gave them all gold stars. My son, all my sons, were suddenly a hundred times more precious. I was present to the fact that I really did not know if Bronson or if any of my sons would be alive in 24 hours.

When my husband came home, before I left for my seminar and he took them out for the Cub Scout Pack Bowling night. I pulled him aside and told him what Bronson said and said, "I know it is completely silly, I know his words really don't mean anything, but can you just do me a favor and drive the car tonight like their lives depend on you? Not like I don't trust your driving, but be aware of the crazies, ok?"
He looked at me with clarity and I got that he got it. This was our boy's life we were talking about. He didn't blow me off. He just said "Yes, I will," and I felt heard and safe and I trusted him.

As I drove away, I got that he, we, could die any day. And when I leave I trust my husband with their lives every time. I also trust myself with their lives. And even if I couldn't stop something horrific from happening, I can be present to them everyday as if it were our last. I can let go of the petty things. I can look back and see their smiling faces and shout, "I love you all!" from the car, loud enough to wake the neighbors. Because I want them to be left with those words, with my love.

The Colorado shootings have me too sad to comprehend the senseless loss. I don't think about it or post about it because I don't want to expand that loss in the world. We never know how long we have. I want to focus on the time we do have.
Today my dear friend's friend died in a motorcycle accident. The last words she said to him were "I love you." She has no regrets in her relationship with him.She has loss but no regrets. She expressed what there was to say. She inspires me.

When I came home the most beautiful thing in the world was my Bronson sleeping on the rug next to Daddy and his big brother. Alive. Safe. Here.
I sigh with relief and tear up with joy at the sight of his presence.
I whisper "I love you."
Everyday is a gift. Every word only means what we make it mean.
Yes, he might die on a different tomorrow, we all might, everyday... in fact we will dies, someday. But in this moment right here, right now, we are here....so now what?
Are we going to choose to be fearful, safe and anxious? Or busy, resentful or irritated? Are we going to choose to regret or yell or ignore?

Or will we snuggle a little longer and whisper jokes in their ears? Will we call our loved ones? Will we choose fun, play and love? Will we choose gratitude, delight and discovery? Will we choose to be present?

Here is to TODAY.

Zen Honeycutt

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