I was welcomed back home tonight from a short business trip to Wisconsin with a GORGEOUS October sunset. "It's ORANGE!" TJ said, as we drove home from Aunt Dana's, where he spent last night and today. Later he declared, "My favorite color is orange! And BLACK!" I think he's seen too many halloween decorations lately, maybe.
As is typical, when I return from not seeing him for anything longer than a "normal" work day, he had a little "melt-down" once we were home alone together tonight. It was actually pretty manageable, as far as melt-downs go. And he's lying beside me in my bed, holding my neck, sucking on his paci, as I type this... trying to go to sleep. I understand that these little episodes have something to do with a "change in venue"... going from all the action of Dana's house-- the boys, Dana's "parenting", etc...-- and the drastic change of coming home to be alone with Daddy. It doesn't really bother me as much anymore. I understand it's just the "adjustment" thing. Tomorrow, he'll wake up and be a model child again, I'm sure of it. (Or hoping for it.)
I was talking to Dana today about some of his new "quirks" lately... The occasional melt-down, the struggle to get him to go to sleep at night, etc... "It's not fair. It's not right. A boy needs his mommy. I feel so bad for him. But it is what it is. I wish I could shave my neck closer to make it feel more like Mommy's. Spray her perfume on me or something... To give him that comfort, that nurturing that only she could give. But I can't. This is his life, now. He's going to have to figure out how to 'deal with it', with what he's being provided... in me, in you, in this 'new life'."
Of course, TJ doesn't even realize he "misses" her. He asks about her regularly. It's typically the same routine-- talking about Mommy being with Jesus in Heaven, worship Him, and laughing, and being happy and "all better"... and of course, getting TJ's drumset ready. Earlier this week, he asked if when we go to Heaven some day, to be with God and Mommy, if we can all come back and sleep at our own house at night. I told him we would have an even BETTER house in Heaven. And he didn't like that. He wants to come back to our house HERE. Fortunately, I got him distracted with another topic, and the conversation dead-ended.
My mom-in-law came up on Monday to watch him. She took him to the soccer park so she could see the tree and the marker, while he kicked goals. After he played for awhile and she cried for awhile, at her directing, he said goodbye to Mommy's tree. He asked if he could give it a kiss. Mom of course allowed him to do so. And afterward, he told her, "Mommy said 'I LOVE YOU' back to me!!" They walked back to the house... both with warmed hearts.
He's been very into "God" lately. He loves the idea of "worshiping"... I think it helps him feel closer to Mommy, knowing that's what she's doing up in Heaven. He often talks about her after we "worship" together. Saturday he wanted to paint. I got out his big painting tablet and some of his paints and brushes, and he painted two BEAUTIFUL pictures... more of the abstract/ avant garde genre, but lovely nonetheless. While he painted the first picture-- which oddly enough ended up resembling a pine tree propped up against a beautiful sunset-- he announced, "I'm painting this picture for GOD!" This of course made his Daddy VERY proud, and I told him so. I explained to him that, just like when we play band and sing "Mighty to Save" and "My Redeemer Lives" and "My Chains are Gone" and all those songs in the basement, painting a picture for God is also worship. "TJ-- you're worshiping God right now! Isn't this fun?" He beemed and nodded. "And you know what else?? That makes God VERY happy!" He was so happy with himself.
The second picture ended up looking something more like the newspaper or drip-cloth that remains under the dye-bowls after kids are done coloring easter eggs. Nice colors-- purples, pastels, yellows... but no form, whatsoever. We'll keep practicing... But anyway, I'm sure Jesus thought it was just perfect... that second picture, after all was for Him, according to TJ, who was apparently excited about the idea of worshiping with paint.
I hope "They" or "He" share(s) those beautiful little works of art with Leslie. I wonder how much of TJ she can see...? How much of his "growing up" she's aware of... a "part" of... "sharing" in... I tend to think (not that there's necessarily any Biblical support for this), that if in fact Heaven is "perfect", (which it is), then certainly she is allowed opportunities to look into his life and bask in the glory of God, which is expressed in the life of her beautiful son here on earth.
I also wonder about just how much TJ thinks about her. Certainly more than he asks. I find him looking at pictures of her now and then, humming songs to himself, smiling... I'd love to peek into his little mind and see what's going on... I look forward to, sometime down the road, speaking to a more grown-up version of him about his Mom. I'm not in a hurry to get there... we're just fine right here, right now... but it will be nice to just talk about what he remembers... and to hear him ask me questions about what he does not...
Anyway... This is not supposed to be a sad post. And if you're crying, I hope it's not out of "sympathy" for us. These are truly sweet and wonderful things to ponder. These are sweet and wonderful days. We're doing quite well, really. It's just that she is still-- and forever will be-- a part of our life. I guess I can say, "...on Earth as it is in Heaven." Amen!