Thursday, October 15, 2009

When a child breaks your heart

I took my grandchildren to a midweek church function. A young woman I know showed up with a little boy, about 3.

He was clingy. She left him with the kids who were playing games. And he began to cry. Someone who didn't know him asked if his mom or dad was there. He cried harder.

"I don't have a daddy anymore," he sobbed. He's only 3.

I asked for him. Hugged him. Whispered he was safe, and he was loved. He cried.
He cried with all his heart, full force. Kids do that, when they stub their toe, when they bump their heads or when they are so sad they can't find any comfort.

The woman came back and said this was his first day staying with her. I whisperered what he had said. and she said yeah, that was the truth pretty much. She offered him a chance to go talk to his mom, and he nodded and went with her. He came back with her, having talked to his mom at work, and somewhat relieved.

I've separated kids from toxic parents numerous times. I've offered comfort. When parents are so toxic, the grief is less for the kids. But I held this boy, and as he cried, I began to cry too.

Is his dad really gone? or is this what a furious, hurting mom told her baby boy? I don't know. I just know a baby told me, "I don't have a daddy any more."

He's safe. He's cared for. But at 3, he hurts. How does he deal with it?

I am older now. I really feel the pain. Literally.
I wish I could make it better.


clairz said...

It's so hard to see the world through the eyes of a child, but you've given us a glimpse here.

I have a small story about divorce with an entirely different mood to it:

When my son was four years old, we were eating supper with friends. As he served himself some of the rice that I had cooked, he sighed, and said, "This is why my parents had to get divorced, because of rice like this." There was a big silence, then we laughed until we howled. From that day on, slightly sticky rice served at our house has always been called Divorce Rice.

charlotte g said...

Thanks. This kid won't even remember the day, and he will probably go on to do well. Divorce rice. sounds delicious to me.

Matt G said...

Mom, he may remember. Powerful cries do stay with you. But that's not a life-breaker.

When I was 5, I learned to my shock and painful dismay that I could break. Remember how gut-wrenching my cries and sobs were? I'm sure you do-- *I* do. Yet here I am, whole and healthy. In fact, that broken spot in my right arm is undoubtedly the strongest part of my forearm.

I would never inflict that kind of pain on a child. Yet I'm no worse off for it, and I'll bet that in some ways I'm better off for having endured it.

J.R.Shirley said...

...poor little man. May that be the hardest blow he endures. And thank you for loving him.

Ian said...

Thank you for giving a hurt child your heart.