Friday, April 15, 2011

At Some Point

"Mommy, I really have to go potty," says the tall one who is nearly ready for kindergarten.

The shorter one, with downy red hair and a spirit all his own, is playing quite contentedly in the restaurant playground. He shall not be moved.

And yet the tall one must go. Must. Go.

I debate in my mind. Do I take Tyler away from his concentrated imagining, demand his compliance, and traipse him to the bathroom?

Do I ask Tucker to please, please just wait a few minutes? We'll go, all of us, in just a while?

Tucker says, "Hey, I have an idea. How about if I just go by myself? I promise to be so careful, to wash my hands, and to come right back. Okay, Mommy?"

The truth is, I would have been confronted with this dilemma even if Robb were alive. But his absence seems so vast in moments like these. A boy cannot always go to the bathroom with his mom. And he's four short months away from turning six. At some point... at some point...

At some point.

"Okay, kiddo. Come right back."

I watch him walk with confidence, navigating tables, trash cans, and people until he makes it to the boys bathroom in the back of the restaurant.

And my mind begins to race with the stories I've heard of things that happen to unaccompanied children in seemingly safe places.

I watch Tyler climb and play.

I pray for Tucker.

"God, be the Defender of the weak. Be the Father to the fatherless. Give me wisdom with the one I can see, and protect the one who is out of my sight."

Really, that's what I pray every single day. Begging the words again and again, even when my mind has stopped hearing the words. My heart still breathes them.

Minutes passed. More minutes. Too many.

Or maybe not an inordinate amount. But too many for my comfort.

And he came back. In one piece. Undisturbed, untouched.

"Mommy? Want to smell my hands? All clean."

(Who in their right mind wants to smell a little boy's hands when he has returned from the bathroom? Well, I do. They know I'll ask, so they always use soap. A risk, I know. But it has only backfired a couple of times.)

"Way to go, sweet boy." I ruffle his hair as he runs to join his brother.

We did it.

One more first.


thewonderfulhappens said...

I wonder this myself all the time!!!! I have let my 4-year old go by himself at church. That's as adventurous as I've gotten. Way to go, big boy.

Laura said...

That was a hard one for me when they started asking. All the fears and what ifs! I finally convinced myself that I will have NO problem whatsoever opening that men's room door and asking if they're ok and then heading right on in if I don't get an adequate response. They know I'll do it which keeps them from being naughty in there. ;) I know I'll do it which gives me some peace of mind.

my3boys said...

Yea for you and Tucker both! (And I have smelled for soap too. They can be tricky sometimes. Boys!) :)

Kay Day said...

It is so hard. Letting the boy go off alone. Scary. But, necessary.
I love your prayer. Can't say how much.

Closeout said...
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JodiJ said...

You know, I didn't have a father past the age of 12, and not because he passed away... but because he chose to no longer be a father. You get the idea.

Anyway, I leaned on that prayer, believing that God would be the Father to me that I didn't have.

If it makes you feel any better, for me, I would do it all again because I have such a close, personal, insightful relationship with a God who became my teacher, and my defender, chose my husband for me, and has been there in every situation where I needed a Father. It's made my experience on earth an amazing one that most people don't have to this degree... so, um, what can I say. Life is a series of tradeoffs.

Green Intermediate School Music said...

Good job Tricia! Love you!

Jen Platek said...

Whoops! Green Intermediate School music is Jen Platek!