In our family, kid number three is the affectionate one.
He’s the one who will slip his hand into yours, climb onto your lap, put his arm around you, steal a quick kiss, run his fingers through your hair….
Starting at a young age we noticed that food brought out this side of him. Side note- this is quite funny since he eats the least of all. But we would be sitting down to dinner and he’d take a few bites. He’d scoot his chair a little closer to mine and then swing his arm around my neck and pull me close, touching his cheek to mine. We would laugh and talk about how one day this is how a woman would win his heart, a good meal.
This morning he walked into the living room and slipped onto my lap as I watched the news. New tragedy today. Just like there was new tragedy yesterday. I was choking back tears as he put his skinny arms around me and pulled me close. I shared a few details of the pain of our country and just told him, “I’m sad.”
His snuggles broke open the part of my heart that I was doing my best to keep closed. Then his warm skin began to heal a part of me that needed to be touched and loved. The softness of his heart was almost physically visible for me to see. The part of him that will one day likely be jaded was still fresh and confused by the images that flashed across our tv screen.
The adults around him can’t make sense of the violence because it feels like too much to bear.
He can’t make sense of it because it literally makes zero sense to him. I don’t try to go deep into this.
The terror in Baghdad still lingers in the walls of our home. Someone we love has been once again devastated by the hate that has hardened and lied to the hearts of so many. He had already lived through the kidnapping of his father, murder of his brother, loss of people he loved- and now more. He has left that area for the safety of his family. He is not able to bring them to the US yet, so he stays with them there.
Life feeling heavy and already on edge, I get a text from my sister this afternoon-
My sister and her kids playing at the park one minute and then fleeing after a man is seen in his car with a gun. In the end, all the children and people at the park were safe. The man killed himself in his car.
I step out onto the porch to sit down and take in all my sister has just told me and there is shouting coming from in the street. In front of my house a bicyclist and a driver are yelling over who knows what and I find myself hoping that neither of them have a gun. They don’t and they part ways. I breathe easy again.
There is no perfect or safe place to hide from any of it. The only way to overcome this is to stay open and soft to each other.
The sweet and loving heart of my nine year old who so freely offers his cheek to mine, those are the healing places these days.
So much work to be done.
But let yourself grieve.
And I hope you have a 9 year old to give you a big hug.