So TJ and I are both healthy, so far (please... everybody knock on wood). But people all around me are dropping like flies to various kinds of viruses. (Or is it "viri"?)
Physically, we're feeling strong. Emotionally... Well... it was a rough day. I finally just got TJ down. It's been such a long time since he's cried like he did tonight, after saying prayers, tucking him in, and cuddling for awhile. He just didn't want me to leave. Finally, I gave him my shirt to cuddle with. "See?" I encouraged him as he dried off his tears, "it even SMELLS like Daddy!" He grinned from behind his paci and looked at me and cuddled the shirt tightly. That seems to have done the trick. He's fast asleep now. (Although, before allowing me to leave his room, holding my shirt tightly to his cheek, he did state that he planned on waking up in the middle of the night and climbing into my bed with me. I told him that would be just fine.)
The day started off that way, too... Only... for Daddy, rather than TJ. I had a heart-to-heart with my mom-in-law last night. She had TJ for the weekend (he was LONG overdue a trip to Gram's house), and was bringing him back to me. We got into a tough conversation about... well... "stuff". She was having a rough day, emotionally-- probably being back in the house, giving TJ back to me, etc... Anyway... we made it through, and were both encouraged by the conversation... But this morning, I guess I had a "hang-over", of sorts, from the exchange. My heart was just heavy. It was a beautiful morning... the snow (even the 4 foot drift at the foot of my driveway) is completely melted now, and it got all the way up over 60F today. The sunrise was gorgeous. TJ was cute and cuddly and thoughtful... Just the kind of morning Leslie would have relished. She would have pulled a lawn chair out of the shed, thrown on a sweatshirt, made coffee, and just soaked in the sunrise on the patio, reading her morning bible passage. I caught myself even feeling sorry for her... I wanted her to be able to enjoy the first hint of spring in the air. As much as winter haunted her, a day like this would bring so much joy...
Of course... I know that she's "in better hands now". I know the sunrise in Heaven today was MUCH better than the one in the west suburbs of Chicago. And I know the coffee there is MUCH better than even the bag of whole-bean organic Acacia light roast I picked up at Caribou last week. (cue: visuals of her euphoric smile and radiant face.) But still... these mornings happen, in spite of what I "know". Call it "grieving", I guess.
Tonight at dinner (I was already reeling-- having just discovered I had lost my beloved Blackberry-- fell off my hip on the walk from my parking space to our dinner restaurant), the day was culminated with quite the insight from TJ. We ate early-- at about 5:00. We tried a new restaurant, near Dana's and my rendezvous point, in Downtown Wheaton. There were several other young families in the place. TJ was telling me about his day with the boys. I had just heard of yet ANOTHER family I know being rather sick with some sort of stomach virus... so it took me awhile to catch up with TJ's thought progression...
We had just gone to the bathroom, and we bumped into another daddy and a boy about TJ's age, who was leaving the men's room just as we were entering. When we returned to our table, and as we continued our Q & A about TJ's day, he asked me a question...
"Why are some boys' mommies not sick?" He asked thoughtfully. I asked him to repeat his question... Dana wasn't sick... Was a mommy of a friend of the boys who he'd played with that day battling a flu bug? He repeated the question.
"Some boys' mommies aren't sick. Why?" He repeated.
"Well..." I tried to help him clarify, "Who's mommy is not sick?" He looked across the dining room of the restaurant.
"That boy's mommy isn't sick." He pointed to the boy we'd almost bumped into in the restroom. He was about TJ's age. The boy's daddy seemed to be about my age. His mother was a cute brunette with well-styled hair, and familiar-looking facial features. They had a one-year-old boy in a high-chair as well...
Suddenly, I saw where TJ's mind was...
"Oh, buddy..." I sympathized gently. "You want to know why your mommy was sick, but that boy's is not?"
He nodded and looked back across the room to the family of four.
"TJ..." I thought for a second. "Your mommy was very special. She had a very special disease. Not many mommies have that kind of sickness. God loved her SO much that He wanted to bring her to Heaven before almost ALL of the other mommies. Very very FEW mommies get sick like your mommy did."
He shot me a cautiously hopeful smile.
"You know... Someday... when you have another mommy... Maybe she won't be sick, like most of the other mommies." He smiled at me, so I continued. "Maybe she and I will grow old together, and someday, when you're all grown up, you'll have babies of your own, and they'll call me and your new mommy 'grandma and grandpa'!"
"Noooooo!" He giggled sheepishly.
"YES!" I replied. "TJ, people don't usually get sick like your mommy did. She was very special. But Daddy's not sick, and most mommies aren't sick, either. I'm sorry your mommy got sick the way she did. But she's all better, now, right? And maybe your new Mommy won't be sick, just like that boy's mommy!"
We had some GREAT talks about Jesus on the drive home.
"I love God," he informed me.
"TJ! That makes me SO happy!!! I love God, too!!"
"And if I love God, I can go to Heaven someday, right? You told me that."
I'd forgotten about that conversation... A month or so ago, he'd learned a new word from a cousin... "hate". Well... that's the one word that Daddy "hates". So I jumped all over that one. But in the heat of the argument, TJ (boy, this sounds horrible-- remember, Tyson... he's only 3...) announced that he hated God. It was during a bed-time prayer, and he was not ready to go to bed, so I think he just blurted it out for effect-- to get a reaction from me. Well, he did. I told him it made me very, very sad when he said that. I told him that only people who LOVE God go to heaven... I gave him the 3-year-old version of the "salvation message"-- that Jesus' love for us allows us to love God and be in Heaven with Him someday. And that Mommy loved Jesus with all her heart, and that's why we know she's with God today. I wasn't aware that this particular conversation had left such an impact on his heart, until tonight.
"That's right buddy. Just like Mommy." I answered.
Chalk it up to another "Mommy moment". Call it a "Mommy day", maybe...