They say that as a blogger you need to write consistently… they (whoever they are) are the same people that say that new mother’s should nap when the baby is napping… like the laundry and dishes will do themselves while you nap with your baby…
My intentions are good but my main job is to be a Mom and this week I was needed in a way I haven’t been needed in a while. You see, my youngest little man is a kid so full of love and compassion that sometimes it hurts to watch how much he loves because I can see the train ahead. I was that kid, the kid who never thought twice before giving my heart away, the kid who didn’t think that loving could hurt, the kid who felt everything for everyone. I was also the kid who never saw the train(S) coming and when they finally hit me they left me shattered. I see myself in Kaper sometimes and it makes me wince because I can’t protect him from the inevitable. Loving hurts, compassion hurts, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it but it still hurts and when you love without fear, when you give your whole heart away then when it’s shattered it feels unfixable.
In October Kaper turned 11, with no idea what to get him for his birthday but wanting to make it special because it’s a covid birthday and there was no party to be had, we bought him a pet hamster and Kaleb did what Kaleb does. He loved Rocky with his whole heart, without fear, just full on, right in the gut love. Then on Sunday Kaleb brought him downstairs and asked me if Rocky was okay, he was just lying around, breathing but not moving, I felt the knot immediately, saw the lights of the train ahead as I stared at the eyes of my son, eyes that were already filling with tears. We spent the week syringe feeding and warming Rocky, snuggling him, loving him the best we could. He had ups and downs, we had hope and then we’d worry again. This morning though we had to give up hope. Rocky passed away in the night and the train I had seen coming all week was actually me, telling my son that his little friend was gone. Watching the grief wash over him, through him, made my soul hurt, his sobs brought my own forward. His why’s brought out my own why’s and we talked a lot about the fairness of death, the why in suffering, and where the blame should go. You see he was convinced (still is) that it was somehow his fault, he’d done something wrong, didn’t give him the right food, didn’t keep him warm enough, etc. etc. I remember thinking all of those things when we got Joshua’s diagnosis. Had I eaten something wrong? Had I slept wrong? What had I done? Why does this happen? The answer? There is no answer, life sucks sometimes.
Kaleb is a kid who loves animals, always has, probably always will. He gives his heart to them and he feels their pain. He saves his money and sends it to the WWF to adopt animals, he asks for that every year for Christmas. I have had so many creatures that I have had to babysit over the years, some were fun, some much less so (he left me in charge of a snail once and I put it in the garden thinking they were slow… then had to suffer the agony of telling him after school that I had lost her). As I looked for a picture of Rocky to print for Kaleb I sorted through so many pictures of Kaper with his various pets and I figured Id share them here, because it was Rocky that died today but it’s Kalebs’ capacity to love both people and animals that I wanted to celebrate here today.
Kaper loves his creatures, but more than that it his love and ability to care for the people around him. If he sees pain in someone he longs to comfort, to heal, to help. I remember after his brothers’ eye surgery Joshua couldn’t open his eyes and needed a cold compress or the pain was too much. Kaleb held the cold compress on his eyes so that he could eat and I could rest and have a coffee…
He sees the needs, he feels it, then he tries to fix it. His heart, his beautiful heart is so huge, his ability to show compassion in epic and rivalled by few, he loves us so well.
So this week has been about loving this kid right back, the same way he loves me, all in, full out, no fear. He lost a friend, he had his heart broken, but I am so proud of the amazing little man he is turning out to be, trains are ahead of him, but I will be there to comfort him when they hit.
A few hours after our funeral for Rocky Kaleb (still watery eyed and wobbly voiced) asked if he could have another hamster to love, his love and resilience once again amazing me. The local shop had ONE, so I went up at lunch to get it. Turns out he’s a boy too, and his name is Coal and he’s smaller than a large marshmallow (I checked).
Rocky isn’t forgotten, Kaleb still grieves, he’s gone out twice to say a few things at the graveside over the course of the day but Coal is distracting him from the pain of that loss, he’s going to get a lot of love from his new Daddy of that there is no doubt.