Thursday, May 11, 2006

Way Too Serious For a Witty Title: What Do You Say When Your Kids Hurt?

I know this post is long, but if you ever read anything here, please read this.

Tonight, I came home from a quick trip to Target and my son was in bed, crying. J was just getting up to check on the little guy. I walked into J-bear's room and asked him what was the matter. Apparently, he had been crying for a while, but no one could hear him because he was so quiet.

Keep in mind, I haven't had a great day today. My kids were acting up, and I am tired, and the Santa Ana winds are blowing today, which makes us all grumpy. And now I had to deal with a kid who wouldn't settle down and go to sleep. So I probably had a bit more edge than normal, but I wasn't mean about it.

He wailed louder, and wouldn't tell me what was bothering him. His answer: "I'll draw it." I sighed, a bit annoyed. What was it this time? A troll? Something in the dark in his room? But, knowing that nothing would be resolved until I fetched pencil, paper and flashlight, I swallowed my frustration. My son has this thing where he won't tell you what is wrong, but he will draw it.

I don't know why he does this, it may be part of his Asperger's. Maybe the words are too big and too scary for him, but a visual picture is something with which he can cope. So I headed down the hall, praying he wouldn't wake his younger sister, with whom he shares a room. I delivered the supplies and said I would check back on him in just a minute.

I returned a few minutes later; he was intently drawing, but just finishing up. And he handed me this and burst into fresh tears.

What could I say? It was very self-explanatory. My first reaction was shock. He was upset about the war in Iraq. I have no idea what to say to my son, and am furious with the fact that I even have to be put in this position. Here is where I could insert my anti-war rant, but really, we all know how I feel about his administration, so it would be beating a dead horse. But for me, it comes down to this:

Mr. President, do whatever you want to me. Lie to me and tell me that a country that has been an ally in the past has been harboring terrorists. Manufacture evidence to pull us into a war that isn't well thought out or necessary. Tell me that we must overthrow the dictator of said country because "freedom is on the march." Tell me that you decide these things.

You can tell me whatever you want. And I will lie awake at night and cry, and pray and worry. But when you pull my son into your web of lies, when you keep my child awake and fearful because he cannot stand the thought of bombing a country into submission, then sir, you have gone too far. When I have to explain to my innocent child why we dropped bombs on other innocent children all because of a lie, then sir, you are dealing with a highly pissed off mother. The time to end this is now. Before more people die because someone didn't tell the whole truth.

So, what did I tell my son? What could I say? I first cried with him, hugged him and told him that I didn't understand it either, and that really the only thing we can do is pray. So, we did. I held onto my son, who was whole in my arms, and wasn't threatened by a superpower, didn't have to worry about whether or not he would wake tomorrow, and we prayed. We prayed for the Iraqi children. We prayed for an end to this evil war. And for leadership change of heart, though I question if this leadership has any heart at all. We prayed for mercy. We prayed for peace. And we sobbed.

And as I sit writing this, I am sobbing again. For the victims of Iraq. Our soldiers, their mothers. The families who live in Iraq. And for one more victim as well : my son's lost innocence.

T, who has no idea how to explain this insanity

Search Me: kids, Asperger's, Politics, Autism,

6 sent chocolate:

Cheryl said...

I know where you are with this. We have a rule now that Husband is NOT ALLOWED to watch the news or leave newspapers lying around when Son is around, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Maybe tell him yes, God is crying about it too (or God is catching them when they die?)and if mummy's asleep, God will always give him a hug because he understands?

Hugs to you!

Jay said...

That reminds me of a Will Smith song I heard about the very thing. I think it was called Tell Me Why.

Anyway. It's good that you let him draw out his emotion. It's hard for almost any kid to deal with things that even adults have a hard time expressing. And there is just nothing you can really tell him to make it all go away.

Allison said...

What a difficult topic to try to explain to a child. What makes it worse is that you have to explain something that even adults have a hard time coping with.

It is a really crappy way for a child to lose his innocence.

pia said...

This was truly a wonderful post. Think that Aspergers can lead to feeling so much more intently than most people

Mine was (is) different. Was highly verbal for any child. And I read newspapers--and would worry about everything

As for this administration, am putting all my old posts in categories. Thought about making "impeach Bush" the default one for everything

Not because I want him impeached. I don't. I want an impeachment hearing because only then will the truth be known.

And a bit of me, not the good me, wants payback for what they did to Clinton--who told a personal lie, not lies that affected how our nation is run.

I live in Manhattan and know too many kids who are in therapy. Needed therapy because the Trade Center was a Manhattan backyard--and they can't understand everything that happened next

My best friend's daughter was 11 then. She's 15 now, has learning disablities, and her ablity to focus is cut short by worrying about the world

I was 15 during Viet Nam--and worried about the world but...my country hadn't been attacked, I didn't think it was more normal to be divorced than married---there was more solidness

It's really horrible when you can't tell a child that the president is a good person or leader, because children need that belief. But you can't lie about it either so...

Chris said...

This was a very touching post and a most difficult question to answer. There are lots of these in life. What do you tell a 6 y/o when his grandfather dies? What do you tell a kid who's been picked on for being different?

My 6 year old can ask the toughest questions and sometimes, I just don't have the perfect answer.

Great post, T.

Momma Bee said...

Wow. Tears in my eyes. What an amazing and sensitive soul your J-bear has. I'm so sorry he's feeling that pain.

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