She’s not in Queens
The boy’s at my mother-in-law’s right now.
She’d written down the names of two friends on a piece of paper the other day. Looking at it, he said, “That says, ‘Mike’ and ‘Pat.'”
He’s only three and can read and do simple math. This makes me so proud but it also reminds me that he’s getting older and smarter. And he’s asking questions.
The problem is that he’s asking questions that I can’t answer. Questions I don’t wanna answer. Questions that I have no response for. Because there’s no response. No good response, rather.
Him: Papa, mom’s in … Queens.
Me: No…no…she’s not.
Him: Not in Queens?
Me: No. But it’s time for bed.
That was a few months ago. A few weeks ago, he asked me:
Him: Why doesn’t mommy come?
Lemme tell you that nothing – nothing – can prepare you for that question when you’re in my situation (and god, I hope you’re never in my situation). I completely chickened out and choked. Completely.
Me: She’s…stuck. She wants to be here but she’s stuck.
Him: She’s stuck? (nods) She’s stuck.
Told this to my mother-in-law who, to her credit, told me as gently as possible that Alison woulda wanted me to tell him the truth.
Alison and I talked about that years ago and we agreed to be honest with our kids about whatever we could.
Felt like such a coward. Have a hard time dealing with cowards and liars and here I was being both with my son.
After a bath a few weeks ago, he looked at me and said, without prompting:
Him: Mommy’s stuck.
Me: No. (shaking head) Papa…misspoke. She’s not stuck.
Him: She’s not stuck?
And I told him what no father should have to say to any three-year old, or any kid ever.
He nodded but didn’t understand. Which, I suppose, is a good thing. He will one day and that makes me feel sick. As for me, I went to the bathroom and pulled myself together. Kindasorta.
I love this boy and I don’t wanna tell him things like this but these were the cards we were dealt.
Thought about Hobbes and his whole “nasty, brutish, and short” quote. For some, it’s shorter than others. It’s that unfairness of it all that eats at me the most.
Wrote him today and told him that he’s never said anything truer in his life.