Benno builds glass planes in his head.
We are laying in bed and he is telling me about them. Everything is glass. The floor is glass, the luggage below is all glass, the pilot’s chair, all glass, even the gears (the “throttle”) are all glass. He has great details.
I ask him “why are you building such scary things?”
I know my son. I know that a glass plane is his worst nightmare. I know that stepping on any glass is a concern for him. I know that heights are his biggest fear. I know those glass elevators where you can see out is a phobia like no other, and here he is building glass planes. Planes that go HIGH in the sky. This is not a cool engineering project. He is dreaming and creating in his mind a torture chamber.
He doesn’t respond, but asks “do they exist?”
“No. They do not exist and they will never exist because they have no purpose. Why would you build a plane out of glass? That isn’t a good use of materials. Glass is not used for such a task. And can you imagine glass luggage?! Everyone would see your underwear!”
That got a giggle.
When speaking with Benno. I always try to appeal to logic. I try to PROVE to him why he is wrong. So many therapists have slapped me on the hand for this strategy. “I talk too much to him. He is only 8.” But is he? Is he ‘only 8?”
But I still think he is a Brody and Brody’s need proof. He is of our body. He is our genetic stock. We know what this looks like. And I have YET to have Benno take my word for anything. “Because I said so” doesn’t work in this house. How can it? It’s missing the WHY.
Benno seems pleased with my logic. Glass planes don’t make sense.
And a minute later he adds to my logic. “You can’t have a glass plane because it is not bulletproof.”
And then I saw this pattern. We have been talking about bullets all day and when I mean all day, I mean the 3 hours alone I spent with him today, the longest alone time we have had since “before.” I didn’t see that we were until now.
When I got home Benno was all about glass bottom boats. Someone must have told him about them. He wanted to see pictures on my phone. So I showed him and told him about glass bottom boats. He asked if the glass bottom was bulletproof. An odd question.
Then later we were talking about something else and he asked if it shatters easily. And I wish I could remember the third time, but again something about being bulletproof.
“Why are we worried about things being bulletproof?”
“In case someone comes in and starts shooting.”
All I could muster back, “but why would anyone do that?”
He doesn’t know. Maybe they just want to shoot.
And again, “but why?”
And he gets quiet. He gets quiet. That is a first.
And I just talked aloud. “That idea is something I can’t understand. I always ask why to understand why things happen and this one I can’t answer. So for me, that means it can’t happen.”
And Benno took this. Benno agreed. Why was unanswerable so that means it can’t logically happen.
I don’t know if I “lied” to my kid. I know I protected my kid, but really I don’t count it as a “lie.” Because I really don’t understand. My logic was sound. I stick by it. Why would someone come out of nowhere and shoot at innocent people?
However, I’m also not delusional. I know that this is real. Rare, but real. But so was Jacob’s cancer. Rare and now real.
But come on world this is SO NOT OKAY!! This is NOT OKAY.
It is NOT FAIR to put this burden on our children?! Is it fair for our kids to grow up with this fear? I for sure didn’t. And WHY? Help me find that. WHY? Why would someone kill because they “just want to shoot.” And why is my child having to deal with that question when us adults can’t even come close to answering it.
I’m disappointed. Disappointed in all of us. How did we get here?
How is this a conversation? How is ANY of this a conversation?
Why is my child building glass planes that are being shot at?
I asked him to stop building glass planes. “They have no purpose. They have no use. But there is something I do need you to build. I need you to build our Spring. When Jacob is in immunotherapy. When he can be out of the hospital for stretches longer than a day. We are going to SAIL Benno. We are going to adventure. I’m going to pull you out of school. We are going to be a family. Can you plan that for me? I’m super busy, but can you plan where we should go?”
I give him some ideas. Daytona! Want to see some race cars? I ask him to do me a favor and put Savannah in there. A place I’ve always wanted to see. And of course St. Augustine, Jacob’s favorite. And he’s on it. He’s building. And he falls asleep.
But I’m awake all night.
Building glass planes to destroy them, not with bullets, just with my mind. Shattering them in pieces and crying. So sad that these images exist. So sad that some can’t be explained away by aviation, by the laws of gravity, by the purpose of different building materials.