Last night, long after my eldest and youngest were snuggled up in their wee beds, I laid on the couch, snuggled so firmly in my blankets that I looked (and felt) like a marshmallow peep – and not even one of those kicky-shaped ones – trying to figure out if watching a documentary about female serial killers was the best viewing option while dealing with the dreaded “D Word.”

Before I could get too far into my decision-making, I heard the gentle pitter-patter of what I presumed were tiny boy feet shuffling down the stairs.

“Alex?” I called into the hallway, entirely unsure if the noise I was hearing was the cats barreling through the hallway like they’d just taken a particularity awesome dump.

patter, patter, patter

“Hi Mama,” he said sheepishly, his big eyes, so similar to my own keenly watching me, knowing he was out of bed too late and that I may (but probably not) reprimand him.

“Hi Baby,” I replied, opening my arms wide so he could jump into them and snuggle with me a moment. “Whatchu need, Little One?” I asked gently, moving the hair out of his eyes and scratching his head lightly with my fingers, which he loves.

“Mama,” he looked at me, his eyes so soulful, as if he could see what was behind my own eyes and liked what he saw. “Mama, I’m hungry. I didn’t want to tell you before because (mumbles) but I’m hungry.”

I laughed a little, which came out as a chocked representation of a laugh – the kid is always coming up with weird requests, trying to stall bedtime as long as he could. Sleep, even as a fetus, has always been elusive for Alex, and as a fellow insomniac, I understand all-too-well.

“Whatchu hungry for, Baby?” I asked.

“Mama,” he said, scurrying around the kitchen looking for it, “I smell pizza.”

“I don’t know about that, Baby – we don’t have any pizza,” I explained, “but maybe we could make some tomorrow.”

“How about I give you some crackers to go back to bed with – I know how it is to be hungry,” I suggested.

He thought about it a moment, his small face squinching into a mask of uncertainty – the same look I get when I’m asked what I want from Starbucks – eventually replying, “Yeah, like in a baggie?” His face lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Sure, Baby, I can do that,” I said, pulling out the box of Saltines and handing him exactly five while he scampered off to find me a baggie to put them in. For some reason, Ziploc baggies are like kid-crack in my house.

“Why’d you give me five?” he asked, always looking the gift horse in the mouth.

“Because YOU’RE five,” I told him.

“So when I’m six, I’ll get six?” He asked.

“Yeppers!” I replied.

“How many do YOU get, Mama?” he asked.

“Well, I don’t usually eat Saltines, Baby, but if I did, I’d get 32,” I replied.

“You’d waste them ALL,” he said, eyes widening. “Because you don’t like them. How about you give ME 32, instead, so we don’t waste them?” My con-man, at his finest.

“Next time I get 32 Saltines, Baby, I’ll give them all to you,” I assured him. Because I would. Those things taste like sawdust and pregnancy.

I followed my middle child and his baggie of crackers up the stairs, where I tucked him in. “You gonna come check on me, Mama?” he asks, as he does every night.

“Yep, of course, Baby,” I assured him. “I always do.”

“How about in 30?” he asked, specifying no frame of time in particular – could be days, hours, minutes or seconds.

“Okay, Lovie, in 30,” I said, a smile – the first of the day – playing on the corners of my lips.

I went back downstairs, my children tucked neatly in their beds again and resumed my internal debate – to watch women serial killer documentaries or pick something blander – I couldn’t decide, which turned out to be a good thing, because the next thing I heard was:

patter, patter, patter

Alex, again.

“Whatchu doing, Baby?” I asked.

He sat down next to me in my blanket cocoon, where I once again wrapped my arms around him. “Mama?” he said. “I’m sorry you’re so sad.”

Tears welled up in my already-raw eye sockets (pro tip: do not use paper towels as Kleenex while hysterical. Leaves you looking like you have had a particularly bad chemical peel), as I tried to figure out what to say.

“I’m not sad with you, Baby,” I assured him. “Sometimes grown-ups get sad because stuff happens that they don’t expect.”

His eyes, wise beyond his years, nodded.

“But you make me so very happy, J,” I finished. “You’ve made my life so much better.”

He smiled at that thought.

“The second you were born,” I told him, “You made my life better. I was so happy – I’d wanted another little baby so badly and there you were.”

“I peed on the doctor, right?” he asked, giggling.

“You sure did,” I said proudly.

“I was in a bad place when I got pregnant with you,” I went on.

“Like a deep pit?” he asked, always one to make a superhero connection.

“Yeah, Baby, like a deep pit. But it wasn’t a real pit; it was in my head,” I said, hoping to dissuade the notion that I’d been trapped in a well or down at Old Man Crusty-Balls farm – whatever the Scooby Doo shit was.

“Wait – how was it in your head?” he said as I realized I’d just gone above-level on the poor guy.

I had a lot of really hard things happen for a long time and I was very, very sad,” I said, trying to explain as best I could.

Once more, I wrapped my arms around my squirmy son, and kissed his head, trying not to let the tears show.

“I’m sorry you were sad, Mama,” he said, clucking sympathetically.

“It’s okay, Baby, I wanted YOU to know how happy YOU make me,” I told him.

in-his-eyes

“I love you, Mama,” Alex said, holding me close. “You make ME happy.”

And with those three words, I knew that while everyone many people in my life may think I’m a fuck-up or a failure, in his eyes, I will always be Mama – and HIS Mama, she is no failure.

Until about age 16, but we’re not going there yet.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

27 Responses to In His Eyes

  • Ewokmama
    Twitter: ewokmama
    says:

    AWwwww, love that kid. Love you too, girl.

  • Ms Dreamer says:

    Bex, you’re not a failure or a fuck-up. Life is not always strawberry Uncrustables and vodka. Sometimes it’s liver-n-onions (gag) and seltzer water (even more gag). You’re strong, and we have your back.

    No matter what.

  • Chooplah says:

    That kiddo is going to be a survivor, just like you.

  • You’ve got one smart kid there. No matter how bad things get, no matter how low and depressed you feel, just remember you have those little rugrats depending on you. Not just for food, shelter, and cartoons, but for the love and happiness you bring to their lives. Glad to see your little guy’s there for you right now.

    Also, my 9 year old son pulls that “I’m hungry” shit almost every night when it’s bed time…

  • Coco Rogers says:

    It’s funny, isn’t it? How sometimes, through those small voices, even the biggest hurts can find relief.

    You’re amazing and wonderful, Becky. I know it might not feel so now, but your son, he’s right.

  • I remember my daughter hugging me and holding my face after I learned about my brother. Sometimes only somethign so innocent can make something so bad feel better.

  • I LOVE this so hard! My youngest daughter is the one who wise beyond her years always know the right things to say to make everything okay. Kids are awesome.

  • Amber says:

    I’m so sorry there are people who make you feel like a failure for getting divorced. For the record, I think people who stay in miserable marriages just to please everyone else’s expectations are failures at life! I love my husband and I sincerely hope we never get divorced, but if a day comes where we are happier apart than together…I’d rather be divorced! Life is just too short! You are about my age (I’m 33), you have a good 50-60 years left of your life…your story is far from over!! You are your husband are actually giving one another a precious gift: the gift to find someone who can make you happier!

  • Frubs says:

    lovely.

  • Choleesa says:

    that is some kid you got there!!!

    and you are NOT a fuck up!

  • ErinInFL says:

    WHY DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE ME CRY!!!!! You are NOT a fuck up. You’re awesome. And I’ll be happy to tell you that every damn day!

  • LDiggitty says:

    Awwww… I love how he’s looking out for his mama. What a sweet little boy!!!!

  • Becca says:

    You are not a fuck up! We could do this, lather, rinse, repeat for the next little bit but let’s agree that you and I have the cutest kids on the planet. Alex is wise in the way that little people are when they see our pain. Hugs!!

  • Triplezmom
    Twitter: triplezmom
    says:

    And you got me to tear up again. That was beautiful. Hugs, lady.

  • Grace says:

    Alex is a rock star! Now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye {sniff}

  • Ally says:

    AB

    I love it when they’re that little too =)
    This was a beautifulGorgeous post

    <3 loveLoveLOVE
    Ally

  • the real VD says:

    Divorce doesn’t make you a failure. (neither does any other past poor decision.)

    Waking up everyday and trying your best to make a better life for your kids and yourself makes you a superhero.

    Keep trying. You’ll stumble sometimes but as long as you pick yourself back up you are not a failure.

  • alexis
    Twitter: theangelalexistwitter.com
    says:

    i concede that it’s nice for males to be good-looking, but his perfect features are so wasted on a boy.

  • Aubrey says:

    This? This has me in tears. Such amazing beauty in those tiny little words. I know all to well how much it hurts to hold everything in so not to upset the little ones. Only somehow.. They always know and give the biggest hugs or the random I love You’s. Right when you need it the most. You are not a failure. And those 3 amazing babies of yours prove it. I love you too. ((hug))

  • Sam says:

    That is one very special little man that you’re raising, AB! The next time you start thinking that you’re a fuck up and a failure I want you to look at those 3 precious angels and remember that they’re as awesome as they are because of YOU! It was YOU that made sure, when Amelia was born, that not only did she get the best treatment available but that every other child did as well. Then you made sure that their terrified parents had a place to go when they were scared our lonely our needed some hope. YOU did all of those things and SO SO much more!

    I know that you’re scared and sad right now but you’re teaching your babies, especially your Daughter, that staying with someone just because you’re afraid of the unknown isn’t good enough. You’re teaching them that they’re worth more than a lackluster, unhappy, and complacent relationship and that they’re happiness IS important! I’m so proud of you for realizing that YOU are worth more!

    I wish I was there to hug you and give you these little unsolicited pep talks in person. In the meantime you’ll just have to settle for cyber hugs :-)

    Xoxo

  • Sam says:

    Thank you Alexis :-) How nice of you to take the time to say so!

  • Jolie says:

    You have been through SO much in your years – good and bad. The bad makes you stronger, the good makes you strive longer. This dip will pass, and you have children along your side this time. They know the hurt is deep, but their simple ways of telling you it’s ok, fight on, are one of a kind. Hold on to that, see their innocence, enjoy the Ziploc baggie moments! WE BELIEVE IN YOU!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!

  • Kelly Fox says:

    work tears! yay! Thanks Becky!
    He is GORGEOUS! You are a fabulous Mommy, and you are both lucky!

  • ronnie says:

    Beautiful. Just Beautiful.

  • steph gas
    Twitter: stephgas
    says:

    let me be the one person who ignores the ‘awww, you and your baby boy are so sweet and you’re not a fuck up aunt motherfucking becky’* and focus on this:

    “unsure if the noise I was hearing was the cats barreling through the hallway like they’d just taken a particularity awesome dump.”

    WHY DO CATS DO THIS??? mine chirp and run around like fucking maniacs after they use the poop litter box. and yes, we have a pee box and a poop box. all three of mine prefer to poop in the covered litter box.

    *also, he is adorable and you guys are sweet and you’re absolutely not a fuck up.

  • Joanna says:

    God, nice, now I’M fucking crying. “Like a deep pit?” My God, how is it even possible that he is so intuitive and has such empathy at 5? Because YOU made him that way. Having a child that sweet and wise is the only success you ever ever need, and you actually made three of them. I would write that on the inside of my arm and read it every morning.

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