Monday, September 7, 2009

Farewell to Superman and Batman - We Will Keep Fighting the Fight

Their legs stuck, stretched and rigid, the two fire-bellied toads lay lifeless over the too-dry small rocks bought from the local pet store. The bright orange markings on their stomach, a tribute to their name, lit with the same intensity as before. But the frogs no longer inhaled their rapid breaths and their eyes receded into their heads.

I knew the cage needed to be cleaned. I knew they needed fresh water. But I was going to put this task off one more day until I purchased another batch of doomed crickets, fulfilling all of Superman and Batman's needs within one afternoon. Too late. As I peeled Batman's dried toes off of the plastic wall, it was obviously too late.

What was I to tell our four year old boy, Joshua? Just yesterday we watched as the frogs pounced the bugs and gobbled them up. Now they were dead. What can you tell a preschooler about death?

And although I am pretty sure Joshua would handle the news very matter-of-factly, I just can't tell him. There is an irrational, overwhelming guilt marching in on me, making it impossible for me to give him the sorrowful news. Why such guilt over amphibians? Why sorrow over ten dollar pets, easily replaced?

Because this summer has contained the most difficult, most heart-wrenching seven weeks of my life. And because those weeks are not over, with not even the mercy of an ending yet in sight. My cousin Alicia, who is more like my sister, has been in the hospital for seven weeks now and we still don't know why.

Countless hours have been spent at the hospital; attending to Alicia, reading to her, feeding her, comforting her, praying with her, hiding tears from her. Many more hours have been spent at home; pacing, discussing her condition over the phone, weeping, praying, hiding fears from my children. And with all of that, I have not always been the mother that I should be. That they deserve.

But just like the demise of loved animals, how do you explain that to a four year old? A two year old? How do you explain a simultaneous present and absent mother?

You don't. You do what all parents do. You hold your children tighter. You read them more stories when you can. You let them eat more ice cream. You tell them that everything's going to be okay. Even though you don't know if it will.

You continue to pray.

And you go to the pet store during nap time and replace those two frogs without your son's notice; because you just can't bear one more thing that you've done wrong, you just can't bear more bad news, you just can't bear honesty in this point of time. This does not need to be a life lesson. There have already been too many of them lately.

I will not sink into despair. I will not drown in desperation, frustration and anguish. I will not give in to the mountain of sadness weighing down on my back.

I will ignore the truth and propel myself forward, grasping slippery hope with both hands. I refuse to lose that grasp. I refuse to lose faith. I will not be broken. I will keep fighting the fight.

And I will check the water level in the terrarium twice a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on Mamma Vintage! I love to hear your thoughts and experiences.