Children often speak painful truths, their innocent and simple minds unable to comprehend the effect their words have. Words unspoken, but felt by the adults that surround them. Words when said aloud hang in the air, never to be retracted.
Tonight we had one of those moments.
The Big One was telling the Captain that I was not his mom, after being confused by something he said . Something completely unrelated to her tirade. “She is NOT your mom. She is only mine and the Little One’s mom! You don’t have a mom!”
And there it was. The painful truth. A truth that he is reminded of every day. A truth that is realized every time he looks into her little face. I looked over at the Captain and saw his slight grimace from the remark, as if the Big One had slapped him in the face. Immediately my heart ached for him. The lump rose in my throat and my eyes burned with the tears I refused to let fall.
The few second of silence seemed like an eternity. I searched my mind and heart for the words to comfort him, to somehow take away the pain I know he felt at that moment, but my mouth remained still. My voice quiet. I just sat there, looking at him for a long time, tears teetering at the edge of my eyelid, admiring his strength.
Not having experienced loss like his, and never knowing what to say, I can only listen when he needs to talk, hold him when he needs to cry, and love him every second of the day. And since the pain is often too much to bear, I can be his voice. I can be the one to teach our girls about the grandmother who watches them from heaven. I will be the one to tell them that they have a guardian angel who watches over them while they sleep. And when the Captain is wishing that there is a heaven so his mom can one day see the girls, I can gently remind him that there is a heaven. And that she is smiling, proud of the man he has become. She smiles as she watches the son that she raised, grow to be an amazing father. And maybe, just maybe, for a moment anyway, the truth will not be so painful.