I follow the same routine each morning. Every morning I get up and do the same damn thing. Today, it was the same. It was the same even though it was different.
As a single Mom, I tend to question every step I take. I wonder if I’m doing the right things and teaching my son the right ways to do them. Most of the time it’s a yes. Either that or most of the time I just tell myself yes.
I’ve been where I knew it was being done wrong. When I was there, watching tears made me cry, hearing words made me sick and feeling pain made me wince. It had gotten to the point where adding it up just stopped making sense.
I filled my cup with coffee.
I realized that here I am trying to do it again. It’s different now though. Now it’s quiet. Everywhere is silent. When the silence is broken it’s because of my son’s voice and his laughter. It’s just me and him.
Except now, sometimes at night, he cries. In these moments, I hold him tighter and I tell him I love him. My son doesn’t know that I cry, too. He doesn’t see me cry when he’s gone.
Last night, I told him more about God. I suggested that maybe He wants to make us tougher. I told him he can talk to God. In his protest of not understanding this, I told him that I do. I told him that I pray for him all of the time. I ask God to be with him and to watch over him. I ask God to comfort him when I can’t.
I told him that I talk to God.
He hugged me a little bit tighter. But my son never used to cry. Or at least not like this. He has never cried for no reason or for just feeling sad. He’s stopped telling me if and when his feelings are hurt and why; now my son just lays in bed and cries sometimes.
This morning, I just stared into my coffee. I stood there with no idea what to do next. As I looked down, I realized the circle on the rim of my cup. I realized how all of what circles in my mind, daily and constantly, is the same as that damn cup.
Every day it’s the same.
Circles are all I find. All they offer though are the constant recovering of those places I’ve already been, like those same cups I’ve already drank from.
I traced the rim of my cup with my finger.
Tracing and retracing as I went. In my mind, I found myself retracing those steps I’ve taken. Again.
Sometimes when I do this, I do it carefully so I can see from inside the same steps I’ve already taken. It’s as tedious as trying to put my foot back inside of its print. Other times I bulldoze through it all because I just get tired of being careful. I’ll somehow try to destroy what’s been in that mess I make. Turns out though that this never works. But I know whichever way I do it, it’s never easy. No matter which route I take as I rethink it all, it’s the same.
It’s the same even in the differences.
I have made promises to my son that I don’t know if I can keep. I make promises to myself that I laugh at. Sometimes I laugh in my own frustration and a lot of the time I laugh through my tears.
My own pain, I can handle. At least I pretend that I can. As it stands, I can lie to myself fairly easily. Either that or I ignore it all a little bit better when it’s all buried there, below the surface.
But it’s when my son is hurting that I can’t bear it. I stare into my coffee on these mornings, just like I found myself doing today, searching for the right and wrong answers.
I keep asking myself why God is making my son hurt. I want to know why my mistakes have become his to carry. I try not to be angry but I think that I am. I think I’m angry at God. I know it could be worse because things can always be worse. I don’t lose the ability to be grateful. But my problem is trying to figure it out. I need the answer to my why.
I need answers to give to my son.
Last night, I told him I felt like my hands were tied and if I could fix it all for him, I would. He took my hand as he mustered out an, “I know.” But I hate it when I can’t provide what it is that he needs.
Something hurt me, there in the dark, as I held my son while he cried.
I told him I’m sorry. I tell him this a lot. I feel the guilt for the way things are now. I feel the guilt for what I’ve done. I’m tired of apologizing to him when he’s hurting because I did what I thought was right. He doesn’t understand it now. And frankly, neither do I. I’m tired of seeing him hurting. But most of all, I’m just tired of seeing him cry.
My cup was empty when I looked down again. When it’s empty, I find myself looking around. I look around for something I’ve missed, just to see if there’s something I haven’t yet found. I look around like it’s going to be standing there in front of me. I look around like it’s expected to be easy. Today it wasn’t any different. This morning it was the same.
I refilled my cup and I just kept going in circles, both with my finger on the rim and in my mind.
My son doesn’t understand that it’s the greed of another that feels like this. He has no idea that the root of his sadness shares the same roots as his family tree.
All I want to do is to help him feel better and I have no idea how to do this. I don’t know how to share my emotions for how he feels because I was never built to do that. My seven-year-old isn’t equipped to hold my pain. I just listen. I just listen and hold him while he cries.
I stared at my cup.
I picked it up for a closer look.
Then, I let it go.
I watched it as dropped so easily from my hand.
I saw it growing smaller as it fell.
Pieces. Just like that. It shattered when it hit its bottom. I stared at the mess I’d made. It didn’t make any sense while it was up close and it sure as hell didn’t make any sense bigger and spread out. It didn’t make sense in all of those scattered pieces.
I walked away. I knew it’d be there until I came back to it. I knew the mess was mine. I walked away because I didn’t care.
I found myself in the doorway of the bedroom, staring at my son. I just stood there looking at him while he slept. There was the best part of me and I had nothing to offer to ease his mind and his little hurting heart.
I wanted to hold him but I didn’t want to wake him. In the distance that remained there, between he and I, it felt like forever. I stood there and I cried.
The best part of me is hurting. His world is messed up and he doesn’t know why. But I do. I know exactly why. I know why but he’d never understand it if I told him.
I went back to that mess on the floor. It’s a shame though, how simple this mess on the floor was to clean up. And I knew it would still be there when I came back. The mess was mine and mine alone. There was no magic. There was no wishing that what’d been done would somehow be undone.
I looked down through tears as I collected the broken pieces. Those same two hands correcting the mess on the floor are the same ones that comfort my son when he cries. It’s just not fair what I am able to do and what I am not.
I laughed as I cried at the irony I found in my coffee.
I decided that maybe I’m not mad at God because I think I get it. I can’t blame Him for the steps I’ve taken. But it isn’t just me or that cup – those are the least of the extent of my pain. I’d clean up this mess and move on.
I wish it was all this easy to fix. I know I’ll keep searching for answers and I know I’ll keep asking why, why all this has now become his. My son deserves to know. My son just deserves to be happy.