This week has been quite hellish, for many reasons. I will fill you in on one that makes me depressed every time I think about it.
For my birthday a few years back, my mother put two photos in a double frame for me. They were pictures of me and my maternal grandmother taken when I was around 18 when we took her out to a fancy dinner. She passed away almost twelve years ago. I have it up on the entertainment center, and even though I have never singled it out to Mr. Personality, he looks at it occasionally, but has never said anything.
On Monday, he pointed to the picture and asked me who the people were in the pictures. I told him that one of them was me, and that the other was his Oma.
Who is Oma, he wanted to know.
Well, your Oma was your grandma's mommy. You know, we have talked about her a few times, remember?
He pondered this information for a minute or two.
Where is she, Mama?
Gulping and crossing my fingers that I would explain this in a way that would not traumatize him for life, I went ahead and told pretty much the unvarnished truth. I never fail to amaze myself for how little I have mentally prepared for big questions such as these. I mean, he's three and I just don't see these coming. Call me a first time mommy, and an inept one at that.
Your Oma died before you were born, sweetie.
So I can't see her? She is gone? And at this point he is beginning to be upset.
Yes, honey, she is gone and in a place where you can't see her. We can think about her and talk about her, but we can't see her.
Then comes the sucker punch that I never saw coming.
Well, Daddy's Mommy and Daddy must have died too, because I don't see them anymore.
Instantly my breath caught, and my heart shattered into a thousand tiny pieces of remorse, regret, anger, and sorrow.
Because those grandparents are very much alive, but have chosen to conduct themselves in a manner which we as parents feel would not necessarily be in the best interests of Mr. Personality. We tried to get them together, and it became too much. I won't go into the gory details because they are too many, and the effect of them has been cumulative over many many years.
Mr. Personality and his phenomenal memory would have to remember the last time he saw them, over a year and a half ago when he was two.
His statement was almost enough to make me reconsider my stance, because I don't know if he would ever understand our reasons. Or even if he did understand them intellectually, any wounds he would suffer emotionally may never quite heal the way I would wish them to. I try to put myself in his place, but I fail miserably because I know too much.
As I gazed into his tiny perfect newborn face, in my naivete and the rush of hormones coupled with morphine, I swore to myself that I would protect him from harm. That I would never make a decision that would deliberately hurt him.
But with my son not even being four yet, it seems as if I already have.