Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sometimes you've just gotta cry

Our family has been keeping up a difficult schedule for the past six weeks or so. Bryan is working a lot of overtime and we are all feeling it. We are physically and emotionally exhausted. A few nights ago I crawled into bed and just felt like crying. At the top of the complaint list would be that I miss having Bryan around, being alone with the kids so much is taxing, and I miss spending time alone, with my girlfriends, and alone with Bryan.

Yesterday, Bryan and the boys were in the living room together when Zach just quietly started crying. He was never able to tell Bryan why. When I asked him about it later, he still couldn't say. As Luke's nap time was approaching today, Zach was on edge. I told him that I thought he needed to get some rest too, and he burst into tears. He was sobbing. And sobbing. Bryan, Zach and I crawled into bed together and I asked him to talk to us about what was wrong. Zach then explained that he didn't want to tell us why he was crying because it was silly and he thought we'd laugh. After we convinced him that we wouldn't laugh or think he was silly, he sat up on his knees, looked us in the face and said, "I'm just crying because I can't always get my way. If everything was always my way, we'd go broke!" How's that for grown-up talk coming out of a five year old? We let him cry as much as he needed to cry... And once he'd calmed down, I was able to tell him that, "Frankly, Mommy wanted to cry the other night because she couldn't have her way. I think it's natural to feel angry, upset and sad when we can't have our way." He asked what I want to have my way. "Well, I would like for Daddy to work his normal old 40 hour week schedule. I would like for Daddy to be home with us for dinner every night. And I would like for Daddy to be here all weekend again. Mommy misses Daddy. And I know that you and Luke miss Daddy, and that Daddy misses us, and it makes me a little sad and a little frustrated that it can't just be changed because we want it to be changed." Then we asked Zach what he would like to be his way. "Well, first I would like some super heroes." We talked about that for a minute and negotiated some ways that we could make that happen. "Then, I would like my own computer." He did not like our response to that. Not gonna happen, buddy. "I would also like a room or a backyard where I can play super hero all the time." We talked about how he already uses the backyard, the play structure, tire swing, etc. to play super heroes, but he said he wants a permanent obstacle course set up. We said that we could not do a permanent obstacle course, but we would be delighted to set one up and let it stay for a few days and have friends over to play in it. ("Like my Star Wars birthday party, Mom.") And last.... "I would like my room painted into a super hero room." That is also not going to happen (his current bedroom theme isn't a year old), but we said we might do something small.

Once we were done crying and talking, Zach felt much better and was noticeably happier. I found it interesting, as I recognized my five year old son's behavior in me... disappointed, sad and frustrated that things are not going my way. At all times, but especially when times are tough, I am so grateful to have wonderfully loving and compassionate family and friends surrounding me. Sometimes we just really need a safe place to cry...


Cori said...

What a sweet boy. And what awesome parents you guys are! Not many children are allowed to articulate what's in their hearts. Zach is a lucky boy.

Tina said...

What a sweet family you are!