Sunday, May 3, 2015

A fish?

Yesterday M came to me, out of nowhere, choked with sobs.  His wife was going die.  He snuggled up beside me for comfort and cried quietly while I tried to figure out where this was coming from.

No, I didn't forget to update regarding a recent elopement.  He's still single.  And he's still six-and-a-half.  

I don't know what brought it on, but the inevitablity of her death had him in deep despair.  It may not have been rooted in his current reality, but his grief was real, nonetheless.  

I offered condolences and told him that he and his wife would have every reason to expect years and years of happy times together before they needed to think about anything like that.  But I couldn't actually deny it, and he knew it.

He finally wiped his eyes and made a decision.  He wouldn't get married, then he wouldn't have to worry about losing his wife.  I recalled the adage, "It is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all."  He didn't agree. 

Two minutes later he was fine, and I was the one worrying.  This is the kind of stuff that is so hard about parenting.  If he just said he didn't want to get married, I wouldn't give it a second thought.  A six year old's whim is nothing to waste valuable worry time on.

But this was a conclusion, not a fleeting thought.  He was truly heartbroken until he found the "out".  M has always been a big feeler. His emotions - though not out if control like they once were - are raw and on his sleeve.  He is a happy child, but not happy-go-lucky.  Not blissfully unaware, like most kindergarteners.  I worry about him making decisions like that to avoid big feelings.

He has every right to make unwise decisions or come to less-than-perfect conclusions.  He's six!  I know that. But it's my responsibility to make sure that kind of thinking doesn't become habitual in him.  That's why I worry.  Being a parent is not for the weak!  

He has been asking for a pet.  Maybe it's time.  For a fish.  Or, better yet, a series of well-loved, short-lived fish.  Better to have loved and flushed than never loved at all.

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