Monday, August 29, 2016

Chats in the Dark

Having kids is a constant growing and changing game. Just about the time you think you have it down, the questions have all evolved. We live by the rule of honesty in our house. I honestly answer their questions and expect the same from them. We all know going in to the parenting gig some day you'll have to have "the birds and the bees" talk, but there are so many other things you'll talk about that you didn't know you would have to. Once there was "Mom, why do you sit to pee but I stand?" That was a fun one that ended with "hmmm can I see?" There has been "Why do I have to learn spanish?" and "Can you make a fart with your armpit?" All valid, sometimes silly questions. I'm inquisitive too so I get it. When something is on my mind it's much easier to rest once I know the answer, even when it's something I don't want to hear. When I decided to have a home birth I went to my first appointment and asked the midwife to give me the worst case scenarios of the births they'd dealt with.  I explained to her that if I knew what the worst thing that could happen, I would be able to decide if I could go forward. I get having questions.

Being a parent it's different because I'm usually the one answering the questions. Which surprising to me means I get to frame the answer as I see fit. If I wanted to lie I could, and they'd believe me, because I'm the mom. I also have the burden of making it make sense. It doesn't always make sense. When my mom got sick my dad explained to me that there was something in her head that was like a un-inflated ball, when she would have her spells it was as if someone was pumping air into the ball. Every pump the ball inflates more, but the skull is meant to keep the brain safe and there isn't enough room for more stuff in there. So the brain has trouble focusing and keeping everything working the more air starts filling the ball. He doesn't remember telling me this, but his explanation of a brain tumor still makes sense to me today almost 30 years after he told it to me. Why does this matter? Or why do I recount these things out loud? Because when my son asks me "Mom, what happens if you die when I'm at school?" I need to remind myself how I answer this question matters. If I make him feel safe right now will stick with him.

I don't know if I made the right choice. I don't know if I even made him feel safe, but I was honest. I explained what a will was, I explained how he would be cared for no matter what. Even when he was sad that if it happened he would no longer be in Sacramento we both agreed Sacramento and this home would not feel like home if mama and papa were not here in it. Mostly we both agreed we hoped this never ever happened....but if it did, we had a plan. After he drifted off to sleep all I could think was this was never a conversation I planned to have. I shouldn't have answered his questions, I should have told him it'll never happen and called it a night. Telling half truths and bending perceptions isn't our style though. We tell the truth even when it's ugly, or painful, or scary. Knowing the worst can sometimes make you better.

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