Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Disaster Averted


Motherhood is slowly transitioning from being less of a physical obstacle course to more of a tactical mine field.  Although Calista has gone from a sweet and mellow little chubba to a screeching, toddling King Kong, the physical exhaustion at the end of the day seems small in comparison to some of the other things that stump me. There are so many times when I think to myself, "What in the world am I supposed to do (or say) now? What would my mother have done in a situation like this?"

Tonight was one of those nights.  Luke got upset with me when I told him to pick his markers up off the floor and informed me that he was going to live with the neighbors.  Threats of this type have become quite common around here and I've been racking my brain as to how to handle them.  Tonight I decided to try a different approach from what I've tried in the past.  I took him by the hand and told him calmly that I'd help him pack.  He slowed his stomping and even hesitated as I led him upstairs.  This certainly wasn't what he had expected.

He pulled out a duffle bag and began packing his underwear and socks giving me confused sideways glances, still unsure about my response.

Underwear, socks, underwear socks, more underwear, more socks...  Good grief, did this kid plan on packing anything other than underwear and socks?

Camden, who had been watching everything began to tear up and said, "Mom!  How can you just let him leave?!"  And then he said, almost sobbing, "It's almost as bad as if you and dad were to get divorced!"

I read somewhere once that to children, the thought of divorce is often worse than the thought of one of their parent's dying.  I believe it.   Even though Dennis and I rarely quarrel and divorce has certainly never been discussed, I remember those same terrifying thoughts as a child and it broke my heart to hear him say it.  I began questioning if what I was doing wasn't perhaps just a little crazy.  "Camden, you don't have to worry about me and dad.  We will never get divorced.  I promise."  I looked at Camden over Luke's head, pointed at Luke and gave him a knowing wink to let him know the situation was under control (hopefully).

I asked Luke, "Sooo... where are you going to sleep tonight?  They don't have any empty beds so you'll probably have to sleep in their backyard."

"That's okay.  I'll take my sleeping bag," he said.

"Oh, that's good.  That should help keep out the snakes."

"What snakes?" he asked stiffly, with his fistful of whitey-tighties paused in mid-air.

"Don't worry.  They won't hurt you.  Snakes are good to have around because they help keep all the mice away," I said.

"Mice?"  By now he had frozen and was looking down at his bag with an anxious scowl.

"Why did you stop packing?  If you're going to be there before dark you need to keep going.  It's going to be cold tonight so pack warm."

Camden was frantic.  "Mom, what are you doing?!  Luke, don't leave!"

Slowly, with tears in his eyes, Luke turned to me and said, "I won't leave if you'll tell me you want me to stay.  But if you want me to go, I will."

Finally, the wall he had put up was beginning to crumble.

I wrapped him in a hug and said, "Luke, it would be the saddest day of my life if you ever left.  I would be sad for the rest of my life.  Will you stay?"

He melted into my arms but true to his Hawkes genetics couldn't give up the fight just yet.  "But if I stay, I'll never hug or kiss you again, okay?  I'm still mad, you know," he said with his little arms around my neck as he twirled my ponytail with his finger.

"I know," as I brought him in for a tight hug.

"I'll always be mad... really."  Ever the tough guy, he was trying so hard but his iron will was slowly slipping away.  He rested his head on my cheek and wrapped his other arm around my back.

By now Dennis had come in and we talked with him about why Heavenly Father made families the way He did.  We told him that Heavenly Father knew that our family would never be complete unless Luke were a part of it.  We discussed how he had grown so fast and that we could hardly believe he wasn't our little baby anymore.  We are so proud of the little man he is growing up to be.

Then Dennis began teasing Luke about the blanky he carried for so many years- the way he'd stuff it in his mouth, keeping his huge eyes wide open and run his fingers along the silky edge until he found the hole that was in the bottom corner of the mangy, tattered blanket.  Then he'd twirl his fingers round and round in the hole until he finally fell asleep.  Then Luke corrected us that there were actually two holes in the blanket that he looked for.  We all laughed.

We read two chapters out loud from Charlotte's Web with Luke curled up tightly next to me.

Read scriptures and said prayers.

Hugs, kisses, and tucking.

Another disaster averted... barely.


Cristina Crane said...

I laughed so hard reading this post :) I could vividly picture the entire conversation, that little Luke is quite the cutie! Glad you averted that disaster :) It was great seeing you this weekend! Love you!

Leslie said...

Luke is so funny!I'm glad he didn't run away! One of ours also tried to run away over a chore given, and he ran down the street- his brothers chased him and caught him and brought him back crying. Thanks for sharing your adventures! I'm glad we got to see you and your family a few days ago!

Anonymous said...

Dang, your story made me cry. Percy

Anonymous said...

Rita: the story about Luke made me cry too. Please remember this story and tell it again. Love, DAD Grandpa Hawkes

Rita said...

It was great seeing you too, Cristina! I can't wait to hear your stories as your kids get older and start getting into more mischief. It's a fun stage and you'll love it.

Rita said...

You always have the funniest stories about your little guys! I hope you put them all together into a book for them someday. They'll get the biggest kick out of reading them. It was good seeing you too. Love you.

Becky said...

Love love love this!!! Rita you are a most amazing writer!!! I wish I could write half as well as you, these stories will be so precious years from now!!

Trent and Julie said...

I love that Luke--when he's a teenager and you really do need to send him away for a few days, we will take him. Thanks for sharing, your blog usually makes me cry. Miss you so much!!

Becky said...

Okay, glad to know I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes thinking about cute Luke packing his things and thinking his mommy wanted him to leave...too much to bear! What an incredible parenting moment for you and probably something he will remember for a long time-that his mama promised she would always want her little boy. I feel lucky to be able to read these insights into your life. I think you are a beautiful woman, inside and out!