The Blonde Boy wraps his small hand around my neck and pulls my face close to his.
Mommy, I don’t want you to die.
His small voice cracks under the weight of his heart’s biggest fear; Mommy may not always be here.
Death was unknown in our little family. We never talked about it because it never happened. Yet, when he voiced his fears it would only be a few short months later when death would knock on the door of my father-in-law, and a few months after that before my own father would pass away. At this moment we did not know death.
I push away the long strands of hair covering his face, and look straight into his eyes.
I’m not leaving. Mommy is here.
He hugs me tight. I give him a kiss. We turn our eyes back to the movie screen.
And then I wonder…
Did I avoid his question?
Yes. For his sake and mine, I avoided it completely.
I know the truth. Someday I will die. This body will stop working. And I will need to be put to rest. But to tell a five-year old this truth seems wrong and unfair. I told him what I thought he needed to hear. I wasn’t leaving. I was here.
But my response swirled in my head endlessly—I’m not leaving. Mommy is here.
And then I wondered…
Was that a lie?
Yes. It was a bold-faced lie.
Mommy is here—Am I?
Am I truly here right now? Am I present with him? Do I hear him? Or shush him? Do I bring him near or shove him away?
And what about death? Is it only physical?
Do I not die to him every time I push his hands away?
Do I not die to him every time I say no to a game?
Do I not die to him when I am once again too tired to read a story?
Am I really here?
What has become so important to take time away from God’s gifts to me?
I have more questions than answers. But the passion never wanes. I long to be fully alive in all I do with these boy wonders of mine. It is truly the desire of my heart to be present with them in all their sadness, joys, dreams and adventures.
No. Mommy is not going to die. I refuse to. I am here and very alive.
On the journey with you~
How do you stay present with the ones you love? I would love to learn from you.
Here or somewhere…be real. Share your journey.