There’s no doubt that the last ten days have been a horrible, emotional rollercoaster and yet, every day, we’ve still found something to laugh or smile about. How? Because we have children, and cheering you up at your lowest points is what kids do best.
They’re a reminder that life goes on, even though the loss of my mother-in-law will leave a permanent hole in the hearts of her loved ones and a mental scar that will never fully heal.
Our seven-year-old is sending his first Valentine’s card today to a girl he likes at school, who he asked out on Monday and said she’ll ‘think about it.’ Because whilst his grandma’s death is the end of an era for the adults around him, and although he’s sad and missing her, for him, life is just beginning.
He says he gets a ‘funny feeling’ in his tummy when he sees this girl and he virtually skipped home and did a Gangham Style victory dance at the thought of having a girlfriend.
And even in our sadness, my husband and I can’t help but exchange smiles over his head and wait with baited breath for him to come out of school so we can find out the latest instalment of his brand new love life.
We’re aching for her to say yes and worrying she’ll say ‘no’. We’re readying him for disappointment and planning who he’ll ask out next if she turns him down. We’re remembering how we felt at that age, with all the excitement of those first flushes of romance…and it’s helping to take our minds off our sadness.
Children don’t stop arguing with each other, or wanting to be tickled, or needing to be fed, or bathed, or read stories just because you’re grieving. They don’t stop demanding your attention or walk around quietly and unobtrusively because they know you’re in mourning.
Our youngest won’t stop telling visitors to our house to look at his willy and then flashing it at them; our four-year-old won’t stop telling his daddy that he stinks and our seven-year-old won’t stop shouting ‘Squirrel!’ at the dog and laughing when she stops stock-still with her ears pricking up like one of the ‘talking’ dogs on ‘Up’. So we laugh involuntarily…even when we feel as though we shouldn’t.
Kids are egocentric…and in these circumstances, we’re glad of it, because it prevents my husband from dwelling on painful thoughts and as I watch our children lighten his mood and distract him so effectively as only children can, I find I’m not worrying about him quite as much.
He’ll get through this and he’ll cope…because there are three small people in our house that won’t allow him to do anything else. And it’s a blessing.