Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Will you stay with me forever?

Mr5 is afraid of the dark. He's never been afraid before, so I can only assume that it is because the dark is now unfamiliar. New house, new spaces. The rambling rooms of The Old Girl, so quirky and beautiful during the day, become echoing maws of blackness after dark.

Despite the night lights left on and the careful explanation of just where Mum and Dad will be once he goes to bed, and when, and what time we will go to bed ourselves, he is worried. He curls up in his bed, making himself as small as possible, tiny voice quavering as he calls out "Mum. MUM! Where are you?" Why I'm right here in the kitchen washing up son, right where I said I'd be three minutes ago.

Last night we had a little chat about it. I asked him what he was worried about.

"People might break in," he said. "Like the bird did." Yesterday we came home after school to discover a large bird had taken up residence in the sunroom. I had no idea how it had got in or how long it had been there. In a panic, I rang my friend K who, I reasoned, had chickens so would know what to do.

"Er, open a window?" she suggested. All windows are screened.

"Er, um,... wait til The Builder gets home," she recommended.

I rang The Builder. Who did not seem to understand the emergency at hand. "I'll be home in half an hour," he said. "Open the front door."

To do so, I had to sneak past the bird. With the boys eyes upon me, and knowing that to show fear would simply freak them out, I dashed down the sunroom and flung the door open. Then Mr5 and I sat on the front verandah, doing some bird spying, talking in very quiet voices (that is, not very quiet at all in Mr5's case) until the bird strolled out the door.

All of this had clearly had an impact on him.

"The bird didn't break in," I said. "Mummy left the door open by mistake. And he's gone now, and all the doors are locked."

He nodded. He took a deep breath. "I'm worried you'll leave me," he admitted. Silence. Leave him? Me who stayed home and worked around him, who is with him nearly every minute of his waking life, beyond his time at school?

"I would never leave you," I said. "I love you. Do you think I would creep away in the middle of the night?"

He nodded, big blue eyes welling up.

"Never," I said. And meant it.

"Does that mean you'll stay with me forever?" he asked.

Visions of him lolling on the couch at 35, scratching his hairy stomach and shooting rubbish-bin two-pointers with beer cans flash through my mind.

"Forever," I say. Knowing that one day he will forget this conversation and leave to step into his own life, while I won't forget it and will stay, waiting for him to visit.

He sighed happily, gave me a kiss and rolled over and went to sleep.

I stayed awake a long time last night.

[image from here]


  1. What a beautiful post Alison. My Miss9 is very similar - had me sobbing in a airport last year when she told me she didn't know how she was going to carry on when I died one day. Morbid but it hits you straight in the heart. I know that we'll cherish these times - because they do indeed grow up and become independent of us.

  2. oh this one bought a little tear. My little boy is now a strapping 194 or 6ft 4in and I can remember a very similar conversation when he was a little tacker. Happy to tell you that even when they leave home, they still need their mums...:)

  3. This one got me right in the heart Allison. Beautiful.

  4. Oh Al. Just beautiful. We always think of childhood as a blissful existence of nary a care in the world but our kids absorb so much stuff and their overloaded brains do throw up these strange fears. Every time my little one expresses one to me my heart just constricts and I want to just scoop him up and hug him forever!

  5. Love this post.
    We get lots of birds inside as they come down our chimney. The trick is so grab an old towel and throw it over the top of the bird. This makes them freeze and then you just pick them up very gently in the towel and take the towel outside, put it on the ground and unwrap slightly and they soon fly away. The trick is not to panic, because a panicky bird means lots of bird poo everywhere.

  6. ok you had me at forever! i'm tearing up right now! i think that whole post is just adorable! my kids can't understand that they will one day want to live in their own house and ask if we can all live together forever too! melts and breaks my heart all at the same time! And it's true...they'll forget saying it, but as mother's it's engraved on our hearts forever! ps - i hope that cleared up his fear of the dark xx

  7. Aw, this post made me teary.

    Just today I disappeared out of sight from my 5yo at school pick up (to pass some books on to a pal), and next thing I saw him crying in the school playground. He had seen me talking to some other parents near the school gate, but thought I'd left without collecting him! I assured him I'd NEVER do that (and meant it).

    Eldest Son went thru a similar thing when he was a bit older than 5, but I couldn't even leave the house to put a rubbish bag in the bin without him panicking! He eventually grew out of it.

    Makes your heart break, huh?


  8. My 8 year old son is like this too, sometimes it's hard, but mostly I think I'll just enjoy this time with him being a 'mummy's boy' because it won't last. Sigh.

    Great post.

  9. My 4yr old and I have similar conversations, he sweetly tells me he'll still live here when he's an adult and I tell him I will quite happily be with him forever and ever. I want to record it so when he's packing his bags to move out of home I can play it back to him hehehe :)

  10. Oh Al, *tears* what a beautiful moment for you, knowing how much he loves you. Sometimes our kids just need to know that we will be there for them, not just now, tomorrow but...yes, forever.

  11. Oh Allison, this post tugged at my heart-strings immensely. Mr5 sounds so gorgeous. Similar to my Mr4 too, who is also scared of things that go bump in the night. There have been all manner of scenarios created in his precious mind. He is also worried about things getting in. We've had dogs/birds/giants. Poor little darlings, it's all so enormous in their eyes and we are the centre of their world. I always savour those moments when he needs me right there with him too... and I try not to think of a time when he won't need me so much anymore.

  12. Oh Al. He is such a heart breaker. How do their little minds work, to ever think that we would leave them?

    Gorgeous post. You have made me want to stay home and cuddle my three all day.


  13. We had this conversation on the way to school this morning, and I'm still a bit teary.
    I wish we could assure them that nothing bad would every happen. Sometimes I can't even allow myself to thinkl about this whole subject, I'm such a sook! x

  14. Awww loved this post. Such a beautiful moment with Mr5. Our kids are sensitive and vulnerable sometimes to the point where it's hard when we are reminded of this when beautiful moments like this present themselves and create an imprint on our hearts and memories for us to reflect back on with fondness in years to come. Big hugs to you xxx

  15. Wow. I am so far off having this conversation with mine, yet feel I can relate so much. That is a beautiful post - thank you for sharing. I hope you slept better last night. x

  16. Oh dear - just had a disturbing mental picture of The Simpsons Mr Skinner and his mother.
    I had a similar moving moment with my 5 year old girl. Discussing Sleeping Beauty I said that I was so tired I could sleep for 100 years. "But Mum" she said looking yet perturbed "We need you. All we would do is wait for you".

  17. I can so relate to your heart breaker post. I had similar conversation with my 6 year old boy on sunday when from out of the blue he expressed fear about his perfectly healthy and fit dad dying!!! "I'm scared you'll both leave me" he looked at me so sadly. Reassuring words just don't seem enough do they? But that is all I had to offer. Words. We had the 'we will all die one day' conversation 'but not until we have all lived a very long life and you are all grown up with children of your own'. That seemed to help him but not really me because it threw me that he was even thinking about it.
    On the fear of the dark - This may not be a habit you want to start but until your Mr 5 settles into the new house perhaps you could sit with him until he falls asleep. Good luck!

  18. Oh dear, very teary! Children can be such sensitive petals. I know I was and I already see it in Mr2. If only we could save them from themselves? but I guess that's all part of it. I hope you don't have any more stray birds though. I wouldn't know what to do either other than use the call a friend option.

  19. Bittersweet moments like this are always hard on our mummy hearts.


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