I don’t know how to write this one..and maybe I shouldn’t. After reading this you might think I’m incredibly selfish..or self-centered. Or whatever. I don’t really care. This is my way to deal.
I guess I should start from the beginning.
About a year ago Dave and I began to look for daycare for Holden. We had an awful experience at a “Happy House”. Have you ever noticed how daycare centers have ridiculous names–and don’t even get me started on the ones that spell words incorrectly just for alliterations sake. Like “Kiddie Kollege” or “Kinder Kare”. First of all my kid will never go to “Kollege” if I start him off in life with morons who cannot spell..or are spelling incorrectly just to be KUTE. I’m getting off track. Holden had a bad experience. Like way bad..like..my momma claws came out and I yelled like I never yelled before..at grownups. Don’t mess with my kid..I learned that. He was there four days. Then I posted a message on Facebook asking for in-home daycare recommendations and a parent of one of my students basically sent me this in reply.
GIRL! CALL ME!
This wasn’t just one of my students moms. This was the mom. The homeroom mom. At school for every party, handmade cupcakes for birthdays, gift baggies for every kid on Halloween, Christmas and the end of the year. She even came on Halloween and taught a lesson on spiders and then had the kids make a spider craft. No joke, my principal came in for goodies to our Halloween Party (we call her Swiper, as in Swiper the Fox of Dora the Explorer fame) on party days because she comes and gets the best food from every room and she actually said, “Wow, you guys are actually learning?” Quiet the compliment actually.
And she had four kids..three of them at our school. It turns out she kept three other kids while homeschooling her oldest and had room for one more. Enter Holden.
He started with her the next day and began instantly calling her “Aunt Angie”. She sent pictures during the day (and about 25 on his birthday). She often sent me text thanking me for letting her take care of Holden. What? She became so much more than just a parent or a babysitter. She became my friend..my savior in a way. I’d pick up Holden and we’d spend at least 30 minutes talking. She’s the only woman on the planet who can get Holden to nap willingly. He says “please” and “thank you” and I pay her back by having him drop a “What the Hell” after prayer time. He sings the clean up song and picks up his toys without asking because she taught him that. He talks about his best friends Bennett, Miles and Guilana like they were sent straight from heaven. He knows his letters, how to count to twenty and can even say sounds to some of the letters. I didn’t teach him that..it’s all her. I believe in God but I am not one to shout from the rooftops about Jesus and prayer and usually do it privately. He asks me some nights before bed if he can say prayers. It’s all Angie. None of that comes from me. (Don’t think I’m saying that I have no effect on this boy because OH I know that I do..he is oozing me…but all of those particular things are because of her).
Her family became my family. Her husband quickly became Uncle Dean. Her oldest son is Holden’s go to playmate and her older daughter is the love of his life. I’m not joking about that one.
On Tuesday we drove by her street and Holden asked to go see her. I quickly turned in telling him I needed to see her too. I had no real reason but since it was summer I hadn’t seen her in about a month and I missed her. We talked for awhile and she told her oldest son was at Boy Scout Camp and was really excited because he was going to go spalunking and he had always wanted to go Spalunking. I thought Spalunking was when you jump off of cliffs..apparently it’s not. It’s caves.
I woke up Saturday morning with six text messages from Angie. Her oldest son was in a car wreck at camp. The van had flipped several times and he had been trapped inside the van. He had to have his leg amputated and had chemical burns all over his body. I put the phone back down and slammed my eyes shut tight hoping it was a dream. It wasn’t. I read it..and re-read it..and woke up Dave because I didn’t know how to process it. Mostly because with all that going on..she was texting to say she wasn’t sure if she would be able to watch Holden in the fall. That’s the kind of woman she is. She hadn’t slept in days..her son was in a coma and going through something awful and she was worried about Holden not having a babysitter in four weeks.
I’ve never had something so awful happen to someone I was so close to. You always hear about these things. My best friends mom died but she was very sick so she knew that it was coming. I knew a girl who died in a carwreck but I used to babysit her and hadn’t seen her in years. In high school my teacher died but this was years after I had her. My grandparents have all died but they were much older. Those things don’t make it easier of course..just a little more separation between me and catastrophe. The first thing I said to Dave was, “I don’t get it. These are like the BEST people in the world”. He is 15 and it just seems so unfair.
I think when something tragic happens like this people can only view it from the perspective of how it affects them. I can’t pretend to understand how Angie feels at all. I hugged Holden a little bit tighter than normal all day Friday (and Saturday..and Sunday..you get it). Most off all I am heartbroken…for something I can’t understand and because Holden won’t have her in his life on a day to day basis anymore. See, that’s the incredibly selfish part. I think how he just mastering the potty and how will I find anyone who will be as patient with him as she is? Then I have to step back and think that no matter where he goes and how many times he pees on himself Holden will be okay eventually. Her son will never be the same.
I am also heartbroken because the illusion is shattered. I was naive enough to think this was the hard part. The birthing them, the toddler years. I don’t know why but I thought that there would be this imaginary cutoff point in his life where I would just go “WHEW! I don’t have to walk in your room and make sure you’re still breathing because I am a psycho-path and am terrified something is going to happen to you every single second”. I guess there isn’t. I told my mom this thought and she laughed loudly and said she wakes up some nights in a cold sweat because she thinks something has happened to me. It’s why I still have to call her the second I get home after any long car trip. It’s why during my wonderful ages 15-17 she’d gained 40 pounds. It only gets worse apparently. She has Holden to worry about now too. Crap.
Dave and I didn’t talk about it all day Saturday. We went to the pool and tried to pretend everything was normal. We broke down after dinner and just talked about everything. He was not your average 15 year old (very little angst) and he loves our little boy. He even changes his diaper..without being snarky about it. I told Holden on Sunday. I took him out to the porch and gave him watermelon. I explained that he was hurt and it would take him a long time to get better. It was heartbreaking for me to have that conversation with him…luckily it was mostly one-sided. He asked if he was hurt and I said yes. He asked if Aunt Angie was hurt and I said that her heart was hurt. I told him we couldn’t go there to play anymore and he said okay and asked if I wanted some of his watermelon. A conversation like that when he can really process the information is going to kill me.
I guess it was cathartic just to vent. I won’t apologize for writing this..or for wasting your time. You could of stopped reading if you wanted to.