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LJI 10 Week 15: The Sacrifice

This is my entry for Week 15 of LJ Idol, Season 10 (therealljidol). This week's topic was "Patchwork Heart."

As he stepped off his yellow bus today, my six-year-old boy, Kung Fu Panda, bounced over to the patch of manicured woodchips. Earlier that morning, he and his classmate, a girl with twinkling blue eyes and long, chestnut hair, had overjoyed at two tulips, survivors of the late winter snow. I had explained to them that their leaves, which looked burnt, had been victims of frostbite. Yet, standing rugged amongst the other sad green leaves, these flowers had survived. KFP and his friend named the yellow one Sunny and the white one Snow.

Now the flowers were gone, victims of the classmate's little sister, who had made her fatal moves before I arrived. Her parents, both young, stood obliviously cheerful amongst the torn white petals, formerly known as Snow. The father spun Sunny between his fingers.

KFP looked at the stumps, stunned. When I explained what had happened, he told me, his voice quavering, "It's not right that flowers with names get picked."

I pushed him to walk up to the little girl and her mother, and to tell her how much it upset him when she picked the only flowers. Maybe next time she'll think about it.

If I'm honest, I also needed them to see the pain I saw in his warm, golden-brown eyes at that moment: that pure heartbreak, born of caring for something he could not protect. As a mother, I live that feeling. Each time he suffers, I suffer not only his pain but that feeling of helplessness at my inability to keep him from hurting.

I felt that pain last year, in a different school district, when his buddy called him a baby, and he cried all the way home.

I felt it when we went to a Christmas banquet because Santa was supposed to be there, and Santa never showed.

I felt it the first time I left him with a babysitter, and he stood at the door, reaching for me.

As he gets older, what hurts him changes, but what hurts me does not. When he hurts, I hurt, my heart now fissured with tiny compassionate wounds, healing at different paces. Light seeps out the cracks, the love that fills my heart for him bleeding out.

No, sweetie, flowers with names should not be picked. But three-year-old girls don't always realize that, I tell him. For it is my job to help him heal, and in doing so, to heal myself.

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( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 19th, 2017 01:32 am (UTC)

Man, is this the truth. When my daughter was less than a week old, and we had just come home from the hospital, I was nursing her and looking at her sweet face while we listened to lullabies. I suddenly started to weep over her, because I realized in that moment that, although I had been able to protect her and make her life as safe and peaceful as possible up until that point, so many things were going to happen to her that I couldn't predict and couldn't spare her from that would break her tiny heart. And those things do happen, mean girls on the playground, mean boys in gym, learning the truth about Santa, her father's disinterest...it is all we can do, as mothers, to take their hurt and break it in half, share the burden, let rhem know they aren't alone in their sadness and do our best to help them understand why.

Apr. 19th, 2017 01:50 am (UTC)
It's those sweet little baby eyes, looking up into your face, that give you the strength of a thousand ninjas and the desire to protect them. I never understood it until I had my own.
Apr. 19th, 2017 02:11 am (UTC)

This fierce momma bear mothering never fades! As the mother of a special needs child I sometimes feel as though I have more of these type stories than most, thanks for reminding me that we all feel protective of our cubs!

Apr. 19th, 2017 10:41 am (UTC)
I can only imagine. Through friends of mine with special needs children, I know how much you need to do for them, and I honor your work.
Apr. 19th, 2017 07:33 am (UTC)
This touched my heart and feelings that are indescribable are so well described here :) I especially liked the line " Light seeps out the cracks, the love that fills my heart for him bleeding out."

Apr. 19th, 2017 10:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was hoping that image could help bring the feeling alive for those who may not understand it.
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Apr. 19th, 2017 11:42 am (UTC)
He is very sweet. I'm trying to teach him to express his emotions, especially towards people that hurt his feelings. A lot of times, children are unaware of their impacts on others, and it's too easy to internalize pain when the instigator is likely to be completely unaware that you're hurting.

The good news is that we discovered some daffodils growing next to our patio, away from the sidewalk and somewhat hidden from the front steps. We will be watching these, more protected daffodils as they grow. I also plan to start a patio garden with him, once it gets a little warmer.
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(no subject) - alycewilson - Apr. 20th, 2017 08:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 19th, 2017 02:07 pm (UTC)
This is heartbreaking. I hope he has recovered from the loss.
Apr. 20th, 2017 08:07 am (UTC)
I'm happy to report that he has. We discovered some daffodils next to our patio, safely hidden from little girls behind a bush. Plus, I've bought seeds to start a patio herb garden!
Apr. 19th, 2017 08:08 pm (UTC)
I feel this with my kids. I definitely hurt when they hurt. And sometimes explaining why things happen the way they do can be difficult.
Apr. 20th, 2017 08:06 am (UTC)
Yes, especially when they're still so young and wide-eyed about the world.
Apr. 19th, 2017 08:13 pm (UTC)
Last year my 27-yr-old daughter's car got totaled by a total jackass in a parking lot. (T-G no one was in her car at the time!) She was crushed worse than the car. It was her 1st car; the car we'd helped her buy as a 17 yr old with a job at the movie cinema. Her feelings of loss and violation were very profound. I felt it all as well. I soooo understand this!
Apr. 20th, 2017 08:06 am (UTC)
Awww! I know I would feel that, too.
Apr. 20th, 2017 12:28 am (UTC)
As he gets older, what hurts him changes, but what hurts me does not.
So true for a parent! You never lose those pangs when your child feels heartbreak. Ours are 17 and 19, and it's still that way.
Apr. 20th, 2017 08:05 am (UTC)
I can only imagine. Do you have boys or girls? It's too early to say what he'll be like as a teenager, but I can imagine that in some ways, it gets easier and in some ways more difficult!
Apr. 20th, 2017 06:58 pm (UTC)
Wow... what a tender and compassionate boy. He says it all with that simple statement. May he keep that heart and the world not overwhelm it.

Mother to mother - felt and loved every word of this. Hugs and peace
Apr. 20th, 2017 10:52 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that KFP addressed the girl and her parents. That is a very noble and assertive action to take.

I wonder how the gardener who planted the flowers felt at the discovery of their absence. Probably angry, if they are like the gardeners I know.

It bothers me how oblivious the parents were. Did they respond?
Apr. 21st, 2017 01:35 am (UTC)
This is so sweet. :hugs:
Apr. 21st, 2017 03:57 am (UTC)
My mom and I have talked about not picking flowers too. When the flowers were picked, I felt sad too.
Apr. 21st, 2017 03:13 pm (UTC)
Beautifully told, and a learning moment all around
Apr. 21st, 2017 05:43 pm (UTC)
This is a very sweet entry!
Apr. 21st, 2017 05:56 pm (UTC)
I remember being taught that you could only pick flowers if there were a lot of them, and then only a few, so that there would still be flowers for everyone else. There's learning to be done all around all topics, I'm a little in awe of parents who manage to be the teachers their kids need. This was lovely.
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