TODAY’S FORECAST: Frazzled
So, I have to begin this post with an apology that it’s posted a day late, so sorry. My hubby’s 40th birthday was yesterday, so we spent the day celebrating as a family. A shout-out to my honey, welcome to the “40 and fabulous” club, Bob! Remember, you’re only as old as you feel. 🙂
Okay, so now that I’ve gotten that out-of-the-way, I have to tell you about an experience I had this past Friday with our seven-year old, Jacob. I was watching a beautiful video tribute that a friend who also has Cystic Fibrosis had shared on Facebook that afternoon called The Faces of Cystic Fibrosis. It was a compilation of people who are battling CF today, as well as some who have already succumbed to the disease. My kids were playing outside, and needless to say, I was discreetly watching, as I didn’t think they necessarily needed to see some of the footage containing very emotional goodbyes and memoirs of those who had already passed on. While we are very open with our kids about CF and what it entails for Mommy, I don’t want to burden them with the really tough stuff until I have to.
The next thing I knew, Jacob flew through the front door, sat down beside me and inquired, “Whatcha watching, Mommy?” Not wanting to lie to him but quickly trying to shut the video down so he wouldn’t see, I told him, “Well buddy, it was a video about people who have CF just like Mommy.” He seemed to ponder that a moment then asked if he could go next door to play some more. I really didn’t think much more about it.
That night as Bob and I were tucking the kids into bed, I went into Jake’s room to tuck his blankets around him and give him his nighttime medicines. When I kissed him and told him I loved him, as I always do, he gave me that look like something wasn’t quite right. So I sat down on the edge of his bed and asked him, “Hey big guy, what are you thinking about?” He immediately responded with, “Nothing mom, it’s not important.” I encouraged him further, “Is there something bothering you, baby?” Then I noticed his eyes welling up. I was not prepared for what came out of his mouth next.
“Mommy is your CF going to make you die?”
I held my breath for what must have been just a couple of seconds but it felt like a lifetime. I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut seeing the tears in the corners of his eyes. I answered him cautiously, hoping a simple explanation would put his fears to rest. “Well, not today it’s not.” I smiled. He was still looking at me quizzically so I continued, “No one knows exactly how and when they’re going to die, buddy. God has a place and time picked for each of us when our work here on earth is done and that’s when He’ll call us to heaven. So honestly, any of us could die tomorrow, next week, 10 years from now, who knows.” You could almost hear the little wheels in his mind turning.
“Yeah, but Mom, do people with CF die faster?” Again I proceeded cautiously, hoping I’d have just the right words. “Well, sometimes they do, everyone’s different.” He said, “That video you were watching today, did it have people who died in it?” Realizing quickly that I must not have shut the video down near as quickly as I thought, I now understood what was prompting his questions. “Yes buddy. Sometimes when people have someone in their family that has died they want to give the world a memory and talk about all the things they loved about them.”
” “If I made a video about all the things I loved about you it would be really, really, really long like Rocky. We might need to make four or five videos.”
In that moment I scooped my baby up, put him in my lap and hugged him tight. I told him that he didn’t need to worry because I was doing really well and I didn’t think God thought it was my time yet because I had to take care of him, Meghan and Daddy. We cuddled for a few minutes and then he climbed back under the covers. I kissed him and hugged him and told him how much I loved him. I told him if he had any other questions we could talk in the morning. He said, “Okay” and “I love you Mom” as I was walking out and drawing his door closed.
I hardly slept that night. His words kept swirling around in my head. The next morning, we both were up early so I took the opportunity to follow up on our previous night’s conversation. “Hey Jake,” I said as I was getting the TV channel changed for him from ESPN to Disney. “Do you have any more questions for Mommy this morning about we talked about last night?” His response, “No, I just need to know if you go to heaven before me, will Daddy still buy cheese sticks?” I laughed out loud. From dying to cheese sticks, you have to love the mind of a seven-year old. “Yes, Daddy would still buy cheese sticks and juice boxes and all the things you need.” He seemed content at that answer and turned to watch his show. About five minutes later when it came to a commercial he grabbed his beloved blankie and “Baby Lion” and climbed up into my lap. We sat there through the rest of the show cuddling together just like when he was very little. I told him that he could always talk to me and ask me any questions he had. He just snuggled in closer. I knew he understood.
Today, I thank God for my children and their curiosity. In all the moments of frustration that we encounter, I wouldn’t trade the moments where they share their heart’s longings, desires and fears, even about cheese sticks! I am thankful that God allowed me to be a mother when the odds were clearly against me. I thank Him for the openness I share with my kids and that they feel comfortable to be honest with me when they have tough questions. Today I’m especially thankful for “my big guy” who will always have my heart.