Thursday, March 16, 2017

there is love

This post is half a year old, written before my dad died and when we had a view of his prognosis that was more optimistic.  Yet I still wanted to publish it, because I like to honour my son's evolution, and mark where he learns and grows...

Finn, you still seem so little. But big things abound. Your hero’s journey enters its dark night; you rush on with footballs and pause to lay car-tracks. 

It’s Father’s day and your Grandpa is dying; for my Dad now there is a timeline and a prognosis. Six months, twelve months, maybe more but who knows? We all love him so, and your love for him is so big it spills out in tears and fear.  But off we go for hugs and snags and play. You have some words like cancer and chemo, but we don’t use them this day; time enough for that when hospital begins.  I talk to you about it, that there are weeds in the garden of my big Father’s body. That there is a treatment like weedkiller that will make him feel bad because it kills good things in his body-garden too. That it is not his fault, and it it is not contagious.

You sense my worry and feel your worry, despite our shelter that curves over you like a bull-nosed veranda.

Coming home from the visit we all just needed rest. It had been a big day with Na and Pa, and I felt tetchy and tired.  And then bad things happened around a good little girl, and just like that you fostered her and cared. All your tired green shoots of love and the gruff stuff of big brothering, wrapped around a little girl; and you gave her the gift of normalcy.

YELL> THUMP> BANG! Bad monsters. Ugly hard sounds of shatter from next door. Screams.
When the police came because neighbor J had called them I got them chairs to sit in our front yard. J could wait for her daughter to be dropped home there, and talk to the police about how her ex-partner had become violent on her and her little home next door.

Finn, you were so curious about the police being out in our yard with her.  You peered at them out of the front window. You were worried about the daughter, A, a sweetly smart little redhead of three years that you’d been friends with for her whole life.  When she came home, she came straight in with us for a play, as J was still making her statement. You were so kind with her. She was worried, intuitive, wanting her Mum but also wanting your assurances and company. 

But why were the police there?
Why? Because it was a safe space for J. Because she had just been physically attacked, because I heard it, for yet another time. Because she knew she could bang on our door for help, as she had done before.  Because we can welcome her lovely girl for a play with a boy who who adores her, and he can be her sheltering veranda, a little space that’s warm and safe.  

She’s a strawberry of a girl, she admires you and plays to your level and calls you 'Faann', and in turn you get to be a big brother. You and she played, and peeped at the police. I told you they were helping A’s mum find ‘stolen house keys’.  It helped A understand why she wasn’t in her usual home next door, which had been trashed by the ex. Finn, I think you knew that it was more than that, yet you played, you made fun, and you shared your eve and your telly and your parents and your pizza. 

Later on I told you the truth. That sometimes men think its OK to hit and kick and throw things, when its never OK, no matter how bad a tantrum is going on. 

So on one of our own hard days I was reminded of my privilege: a ‘throw me in the air’ Dad, a safe childhood and safe home. And of my NORMS that aren’t privilege, that should be the given: I’ve never been hit, kicked or choked by the one I call my love.

But back to you, my Finn. 
You can be mighty, you can be naughty, you can buzz like a bee, you can drive my heart wild with it, but today you fostered. You gave of your good life to a little girl who was your friend, and you did it with grace and empathy.  I saw your care and I fell even more deeply in proud-Mama-love with you.  

My sweet sun, you are as juicy with love as an orange-half. Let it flow, little one, it's your superpower.

* J and her daughter moved away a month later, to a big house with the Sister/Aunt.  We've lost touch but I like to think they are safe and thriving.  Finn misses A, which is OK.  One day some random chance will have them meet!

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