2 different rooms.
2 different children.
2 different realities.
One bursts at the seams. You walk in and he hits you. One argument after another with Benno. He counters your next thought before you can even speak. And he has declared he is “never going back to school!” I try to talk to him, but he takes this talk as a welcomed debate and never shuts up.
In door number two, a very different story. Not a word. Stillness except for a thumb and finger that rubs fabric between them. Jacob just stares. I ask him questions. No answer. Sometimes he will nod a response, but other than that silence. And he looks out into space.
I wish I knew what he was thinking. I need to KNOW what he is thinking. How can I manage this experience without understanding his thoughts? How can I be there for him?
I can only infer from his actions at this point as he won’t speak. There is only one action, his finger rubbing and it feels purposeful in its simplicity. I watch him rub. It reminds me of a monk and I can picture rosary beads where his “lovey” now glides between his fingers. I can see him rub them. I wonder if he understands any of the gravity of what is going on as he looks so wise. I’ve never seen a five-year-old sit and just stare and he does this for hours.
And I leave his room, praying for a sound.
I know he can speak as this morning that’s all he did. Well…he yelled.
“I was at the hospital all day yesterday! PLEASE PLEASE! I don’t want to go. CANCEL it! It’s unfair! Benno doesn’t have to go!!” And then “I hate you” over and over. He claimed his hatred for 20 minutes straight.
I just repeat him. I just repeat his words. I agree! He’s not wrong And I just want him to stop yelling! It’s loud and painful. But he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t care that I agree with him. He isn’t amused that I told him its unfair. That he is right. He is let down.
I’m the parent I’m supposed to FIX.
And he can’t fathom why I can’t. And I can’t explain it either.
But now the yelling has stopped.
I miss it. I miss the I hate yous. I miss every part of it.
So I go to Benno’s room. I let him yell. I let him yell for both of them. Here I feel safer.
It’s the silence that I won’t accept. It’s the silence that I can’t bear.