Tuesday, June 30, 2009

While Merrick was Looking at the Moon


It is late. Merrick can't sleep and the Matron cannot blame him, the night is that perfect. She tells him a story about the house they used to live in, before he was born.

They are snuggled and warm. There's no better place on the planet.

Merrick: "Mama? I don't like to talk about befowe I was bown. Can we stop now?"

Matron: "Sure, honey. Why don't you like to talk about before you were born?"

Merrick: "Because it makes me think about the 'aftew I die' pawt. It scawes me to think about when I'm not hewe. Sometimes I get a vewy bad tummy ache with that scawe."

ping goes the maternal heart!

Matron: "Me too. Everybody's scared, some of the time. But here's one wonderful thing: you don't have to worry about dying for at least 80 years! That's a long, long time. Dying is very far away."

Merrick: "Weally?"

Matron: "Really. Most people live to old age. You will too."

Merrick: "How many of my 80 yeaws will I have you with me, Mama? Will you stay with me for all 80?"

ping! goes the maternal heart!

Merrick: "Please?"

Matron: "As many as I can. Promise."

Merrick: "Can you stay with me until I fall asleep tonight so I won't be scawed about when I'm not hewe? Please?"

So she stays. And she thinks about history while her son yawns and slips away in her arms. She thinks about the countless people who are now where Merrick fears to be -- not here. Millions of people -- lost now, nameless, ordinary folk like her -- people who were once doing just this: holding a child and watching the moon.

She is grateful that it's her turn for this little while.


13 comments:

MJ said...

Tears in my eyes ~ I understand his fears.

Sara said...

Just because we can't see them, it doesn't mean they're not here.

Sara said...

(PS, it's firecat. I don't know why it's doing that)

Susan said...

So sweet.

I was going to say I miss my kids being little - but really, I don't!

Anonymous said...

Whoa. Thanks.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Aw. I love how philosophical he is.

Sweet Familiar said...

Oh! Tears in my eyes. I don't like to think about not being "hewe" either.

Daisy said...

What a sweet conversation. Sniff.

TexasDeb said...

What a sweetheart. Good you stayed up and enjoyed the cuddle - you can sleep plenty once he is launched out into the world (theoretically....)

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Merrick made me cwy.

Karen ~ said...

You don't have to worry about this one's way with words. He has the thoughts, the words will come.

racheld said...

As achingly beautiful as moonbeams.

Our turns are short, and you make the most of every minute. And when he's reading or ready to go to sleep, and his own little one is in need of comfort and company, he'll remember this closeness, lay down his book, and go share a look at the moon.

Anonymous said...

I know that parents don't often get to hear when they are doing something right, but let me just say, you did something very very right here.

My parents, although they tried, were not as sensitive, and when I was 6 I went to them with the same fears and instead of responding sympathetically and with compassion they said, "Well, we're all going to die and you're going to die so you'd better get used to it."

That sent me into a tailspin of panic, my first panic attack. I had them for more than ten years afterwards, anything involving death or dying would leave me absolutely hysterical, mostly because I felt so alone and unloved. I don't know if that response would have resulted in the same response for every kid, but I do know that if someone had taken the time to be kind and understand my fears that I probably could have avoided an almost 15 year panic cycle.

So, well done Mom.