Living

Well, it’s July again, so I apologize for the rambling philosophical nature of this post in advance.

Lately, as I approach my 30th birthday, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Cristina (if you don’t know that story, you can read it here).  It’s been over 20 years, but that childhood friendship still lingers.  I wonder what my life (and hers) would have been like if she’d still been around.  We were a lot like sisters in many ways – we fought, we played, and we planned.  After she died, I had a girl I considered a best friend for a few years until we drifted apart, and then I became best friends with the person who was my Maid of Honor and is also an extra sister to me.

And then my thoughts stray to Dru…who will be that friend (or friends) for him as he grows.  We’ve moved him around a ton since he was born.  He had a buddy at his first daycare in Illinois that he loved, but now can’t remember.  When we were in Michigan, it was mostly older cousins…and now, with him having been in a few different places since arriving in North Carolina, he still doesn’t have that bond.  He starts Kindergarten next month, so I’m hopeful that he’ll find that person that he can plan with and be stupid with and develop secret nicknames with.  And he’s a social kid, so I believe he will, but that friendship is going to be different from the ones that we had as kids.

The world is so different, and sometimes I wonder if our children will thank us for putting so much of their lives out there (or for that matter, the kids who do it to themselves now, do they/can they really grasp what the internet is going to mean for their futures?)  When we were kids, the joke was always to avoid Daddy and a couple of other people if you didn’t want your picture taken doing something, because they were the ones who had cameras at family events…but now, where’s the escape for the stupidity of childhood that (THANK GOD) wasn’t documented by the minute when we were kids?  God knows there are no pictures of how my leg looked when I decided to show my Grandma that I knew better than her (I was 11 after all) and could walk on the loose board laid across the framework of the decking, even though I was dripping water out of the pool.  My right leg looked horrifying after slipping in between two of the framing boards and scraping down one side.  But there are no pictures of that embarrassing incident.  Now, my friends would have taken them and they’d be on Facebook, or instagram, or there’d be a video on YouTube…forever cementing that moment for visual reference.

But are we actually gaining anything this way?  I have very few photos and video of my time with Cristina, but the memories are there.  I have memories with other friends of things that we would never dare now, knowing it would end up on the internet for all to see.  I know I’m as guilty as most other parents out there, but still I wonder…

That’s probably why lately I’ve been less likely to post pictures and whatnot online of Dru…I’ve been trying to stay busy making memories instead of photo ops.

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Mourning

How do you explain to a 2.5 year old the concept of death?

While getting ready to go to our dear family friend Terri’s memorial service, I tried to find a way to explain to Dru what was going on.  Then I realized that my sister-in-law had given me the perfect explanation.

Saturday, when Kellie was sitting at the table upset over the news, Dru came up and the following conversation ensued.

Dru: “Aunt Kellie, you’re sad.”

Kellie: “Yes, Dru, I’m sad.”

Dru: “Did you bump your head?”

Kellie: “No, my heart hurts.”

Dru: “Oh, my heart hurts too Aunt Kellie.  Hugs?”

As we were heading out the door, with Dru all dressed in his navy suit for the memorial this evening, he asked where we were going.  I told him we were going to see Uncle Keith and that he would need hugs.  Dru asked if he was sad, and I said yes, like Aunt Kellie, his heart hurts.  He then asked if everyone here’s heart hurt, and I told him yes, because Aunt Terri went away and wasn’t coming back.  He told me he was sad too, and when we got there, gave Keith big hugs.

 

I don’t know if this is the recommended way that we’re supposed to handle death with a toddler, but it seemed to work for him.  It was something he could wrap his brain around, and the empathy he showed was very sweet.  Despite the fact that we’ve had no trouble at bedtime (or in the night) for the past month or so, it took him about an hour and a half to fall asleep tonight.  He kept telling me he was sad and that I needed to come back.  I think he picked up on all the emotions that the many people at the service were feeling.  He was super sweet to those he knew, but you could tell he was picking up on the general sadness.

 

On behalf of our family, Terri, you will be missed and always loved.  You touched many lives, and the turnout today just confirmed that for everyone.