“Mommy, my knees hurt. I don’t feel good.”
My former ER nurse brain glances over at him as I flip his pancake. He’s walking normally, his mucous membranes are moist, he still has his ‘sparkle’ in his eyes. I brush him off and tend to Logan’s fussing.
“Mommy, my head kinda hurts.”
I glance over at him once again. He looks fine, he ate a hearty breakfast, he’s afebrile (no increased temperature). He’s fine.
We drive to school and my usually talkative son is quiet. We get out, I talk to one of the other moms, and head in. Dillon balks. “I. Don’t. Feel. Good!” Tears in his eyes. My first thoughts are, “Your teacher has already started class and we’re being disruptive!” I don’t know what to do. Is he faking it? Now that I’m writing this I think about this thought and examine it–my sweet boy, who had an excellent first day yesterday, who loves his classmates and his teacher, why would he fake it?
I try to talk to him, cajole him. Finally I tell him to get in the Jeep, but when we get home, he’s going straight to bed, no iPad, no TV. He can read books, but he’s not playing. Inside I feel like I’m failing as a mother, and I can only imagine what his teacher thinks of me.
I put his little brother down for his nap. I’m overtired, having worked yesterday, and then stayed up late painting and meditating, and even though I woke up feeling refreshed, my self doubt as a mother and feeling of inadequacy are pulling me down. My fantasies of day drinking at 9 in the morning quickly make me realize I’m being triggered, and as I retreat to my quiet space to think, my sweet boy follows me downstairs.
I have my online Vibrant Happy Women’s circle in a bit, so I tell him to get his iPad and his headphones and lay down on the bed in my craft room. As he situates himself, I feel compelled to talk to him. As I sit next to him, he sits up and folds himself in my arms. “I don’t like it when you’re mad at me, Mommy.” My heart melts and I get a flashback of myself at his age. Instinctively I realize he’s scared.
“Dillon, your knees hurt because they’re growing. They’re telling you to get ready, because you’re going to start turning into a man like Daddy. They might feel like pain, but really it’s just discomfort. It’s your body talking to you.” He looks at me and embarrassed, laughs. I tell him we can give him some ibuprofen, but in the meantime, he’s missing out on learning all the wisdom his teacher has to offer. That he needs this education to learn how to be a good farmer/rancher like he wants to be, that this beautiful woman won’t be around forever in the physical sense, and we need to soak up everything she has to teach us while we can.
I see a gleam of understanding in his eyes, and feel a peace in my own heart. My self doubt as a mother is replaced with an understanding by viewing the world through my sweet boy’s eyes. His knees are hurting. He doesn’t know why, and it’s scary.
This is the first of many changes he’s facing, and I realize now, writing this, that I made the right choice by letting him stay home with me today. We can make up the numbers and reading, but I can never make up for these moments when he reaches out for me and tells me he needs me.