Over and over, through his tears, he kept repeating, “why do you have to go? Why can’t you stay?”
He tried everything he could to keep me there. There was an Indiana Jones marathon of movies we watched together, some homemade Chex mix he made with his grandma we shared together, and even some weird game he invented rolling dice and moving little pin posts around in their holes (don’t ask).
He was spending the night with his grandma, since it was Friday night and he had behaved well enough in the week to earn the sleepover. I was in town looking at rental houses for my family who is due to move out here in about ten days, with mixed results. I needed to be at my own place the next day so I could sit down in front of my computer with a reliable internet connection and focus on calling the discouragingly small list of numbers I was able to come up with during the day for rental houses. I could have stayed until the next day if I really wanted, but I’d feel better sleeping in my own bed and getting up and around at my leisure, and thinking up a coherent plan to make everything come together in the next couple weeks. Something I have to sit and do myself, with as few distractions as possible. Business and kids, particularly JJ, don’t mix.
I told him I had things to do next day. I told him, without too much unnecessary detail, that I was working on getting the rest of the family out here shortly so he could see us more often, particularly his little cousin AJ who he dotes on. I told him that I wasn’t leaving forever, that we could always find time to spend together, but right now wasn’t the time.
And yet he would not let me go. As I headed towards the door he wrapped himself around me, perhaps thinking that turning himself into a nine-year-old boat anchor would keep me from leaving.
At first I thought that he was just indulging in his usual theatrics, something not uncommon for him. Then I realized my shirt was getting wet.
He was crying. No, not just crying, but downright sobbing. And he would not let me go.
What the hell? For cripes sake, I’m not walking out of his life. Yet he’s acting like that’s exactly what I’m doing.
I did what I could. I stood there for an eternity holding him, telling him I’d be back next week and I wasn’t leaving forever. I tried to make him laugh, get him to get over himself and accept reality peacefully. I told him I loved him too much to abandon him, and meant every word of it.
And in the end, I literally had to tear myself away from him, go to my car and start up, and drive away. And I could hear his crying all the way outside, inside my car, before I drove off, feeling like a coward running away. The heartbreaking sound of a broken little boy.
What the hell’s the matter with him? He acts like I’m the only one that really gives a damn about him.
Which I sometimes wonder if it’s true.
Why has nobody ever made this kid a priority in their lives? That he’s worthy of attention and love and quality time, not to be pushed aside and treated like a misbehaving dog. That he’s rarely been given this time, so he tries to monopolize it when he can, and hasn’t learned to accept that sometimes adults need to conduct their affairs without the kids in their hair.
I honestly believe that he wouldn’t have all these issues if it weren’t for the home environment he has to deal with. Or for the fact that his birthmother is as crazy as a bedbug.
Or maybe I’m just being manipulated and being taken for a sucker.
If so, he’s doing a damn good job of it. Besides, that’s undoubtedly what his Reichmarschall would think, who would clout him into next Tuesday for such theatrics. After al, he thinks kids are like gongs, and must be emotionally beaten and broken into submission.
I realize that I’m doing little more than preaching to the choir here. That I’ve blogged extensively, perhaps too much, about this situation that I witness and the helplessness I feel because I can do so little about it. And that I can’t dedicate anymore time to him than I do already.
Why the hell won’t others in his life pick up the slack? If adults would just take the time to listen to him once in a while, maybe he wouldn’t feel so neglected and attention starved, and be constantly looking for ways of getting attention, appropriate or otherwise.
I wish I could answer that one, but I can’t. But the sound of his sobbing while I left stuck with me the long drive home, regardless of what kind of music I put on. By the time I got home there were tears rolling down my face as well.
Think in the morning I’ll call my MIL’s phone and talk to him. See how he’s feeling.
Yep, think that would be a good idea. At least let him know I didn’t forget him.
Because I think somewhere in his mind, he’s afraid that I will.