LIFE LESSONS FROM A FOUR YEAR OLD
Bedtime story – the best time of day!
We hug and we laugh the day’s worries away.
It ends the way that it always does:
“I love you Daddy to the moon and the stars.”
From deep in my heart I repeat his words back,
Kiss his cheek, then leave the door open a crack.
It’s different tonight, as I leave I hear “Daddy?…”
I turn, he point up, then says “I want Barry!”
I freeze, what the? It’s two years tomorrow.
How can he know? Does he sense his Mum’s sorrow?
I take a deep breath and go back in his room:
“I know my man, we all really do.”
He repeats it louder as I turn on the light,
I see where he’s pointing – to a shelf up high.
So I pass him what he’s asked me for –
A Joker face on a funeral score.
This happens a lot it’s nothing that’s new,
Except what he then asks me to do.
Usually he just stares at his face,
Gives him a hug then it returns to it’s place.
For some reason this time he opens the page,
Asks quietly “Daddy, what does this say?”
So I tell him the truth as I always will:
“It’s a song for Barry so we remember him still.”
He pauses a moment, asks innocently:
“Daddy, will you read it to me?”
It’s almost two years since I heard it out loud,
And ever since then we’ve been under a cloud.
I had built a wall to protect my son,
As a Dad I thought “This has to be done.”
A wall to shield his heart from our pain –
And in that moment it crumbled away.
I read it to him, my defences gone,
He feels my emotion every verse of the song.
“I want him back!” he says several times,
I finish, we both have tears in our eyes.
He spells out the last word all on his own:
He’s learning to read – can’t believe how he’s grown!
“F.. A.. R.. E.. W.. E.. L.. L..,
Daddy, what does this spell?”
“To me it’s good journey, we’ll see you again
It says Farewell, means it isn’t the end.”
“Will I Dad? Will I see him again!?”
There’s hope in his eyes, the pain starts to fade.
My answer is this – is it truth or a lie?:
“We all will one day, when we’re stars in the sky.”
This seems to settle his questioning head,
I kiss his cheek, tuck him back up in bed.
I leave again and this time it’s quiet,
Now it’s his Mum’s turn to kiss him goodnight.
She finds him clutching the book to his chest,
He’s almost asleep, his mind is at rest.
She gently removes it, puts it back in it’s place,
She whispers “I love you” and kisses his face.
We talked about it for quite a while:
Memories, tears and even some smiles.
This wouldn’t have happened if not for our son,
He parted the cloud like a ray from the Sun.
He taught me a couple of lessons that night,
But nothing to do with what’s wrong or right:
He taught me that kids see more than we know,
They suck it all in but they don’t let it show.
But just like a sponge it pours out in the end,
You just need to know the right message to send.
He also taught me it’s ok to speak,
And not put up walls that no one can breach.
He taught me that it’s ok to smile,
And even to laugh a bit once in a while.
Lessons learned from a four year son,
I promise I’ll never forget even one.
I learned a lot from my son that night,
The biggest one though? That it’s ok to cry.