February 1, 2010

What lies beneath.

Mama, do you know why I look sad?  Because I miss Daddy. - Anjali

I had expected the kids to be crying a lot more.  Or to be verbally expressing how much they miss Manoj.  Instead, I am getting quirky behavior from Arun.  A little more defiance, less impulse-control, more whining, less smiles.  Many evenings, he will say something like "I am hungry, but Daddy isn't here and you won't get me food."  Now, trust me, gentle reader, I do get him food.  But I think the statement is a telling one nonetheless.  And Anjali periodically points to the clock and insists that "Daddy is coming home at 3 o'clock, Mama.  3 O'CLOCK."  

And we continue on - me trying to keep up with work (and credit card fraud. FUN) all while trying to distract them from Manoj's absence.  

So, yes.  Overall, there has not been much fuss with them, nothing overt.  Until I realized this morning a reason why this might be the case.  I have not been discussing Manoj much for fear of "reminding" them of his absence.  This morning, I understood what a deliriously idiotic thing I had done - as if my children would forget their daddy is gone. My chest hurts and I feel such a failure right now. What can I do now?  Well, for starters,  I can begin to talk about Manoj more and gently prod them to do so as well.  And we can start making our "Welcome Home" signs for the airports and while we are at it, make some signs for the house, too.  Maybe, just maybe, while we are coloring, cutting and pasting, we can talk.  A little.

I suppose, I think children are such simple creatures and would have simply just told me what was swirling around in their little melons, but no.  That would have been too easy.

And so, we keep going on.

For all that I do not like about being a WAHM, I do like this - my job is so positive.  All day long, I see thoughtful, loving messages being sent along with gift cards.   Silly messages from children to parents on their anniversaries.  Loving messages from parents who simply miss their child who is far away in college and might appreciate a few tacos or some much-needed coffee.  Little messages that give a pal a gentle ribbing about the Broncos losing while settling a friendly wager. Heartfelt messages along with gas cards, restaurant cards and drugstores to a family who is busy running to hospitals and doctors as they care for a very sick child. I am so proud of my husband for creating something that makes it a bit easier for folks to be thoughtful and loving towards each other.

All last week long, I saw those messages amongst strangers..  And I saw your messages to me.  The emails, texts, voicemails, blog comments, Twitter replies and Facebook comments  

Thank you.  My heart grew 3 sizes last week.


Olivia said...

One of the reasons I love working at a movie theatre ticket counter was because people were usually happy.

Hugs to you and your kiddos. Talking about their daddy will probably make them feel better in the long run. It'll clear the air, so to speak.

aibee said...

You're in my thoughts, Kelli. You and your family are, often and with love.

With their behaviour and their words, kids tell us what they need from us.

You listened to your children, and you gave them what they needed, when they needed it. Please don't feel bad for not "getting it" sooner, because earlier, what they needed from you was vastly different to they need now.

I believe Arun and Anjali didn't need reassurances of their dad's return any sooner than you've givern it. If they did, you'd have known. (have faith in your mad mothering skilz, lady ;) )

They needed time and space to process the changes in their life and home first, and only when their brains had integrated the whole WTF? nature of their daddy's sudden departure (it's not just his leaving they've noticed. At some level, they'd be analysing and understanding even more than they did before, his significance and role within your family unit, and in their lives), would they have the ability to process his subsequent return.

You couldn't have presented the two halves of the equation all at once, not without overload, you know?

You're giving them what they need, when they need it, Kelli. Really and truly, you are.


meno said...

You demonstrate the one quality i wish had been present when i was a child; you THINK about what your kids might need.

So don't feel badly, it's not that you need to always get it right the first time, but that you are willing to make corrections and get it right in the end.

Unknown said...

Hey you ARE doing the right thing. Can you all skype with Manoj or show them where he is on a globe?

lorib said...

I agree with the others, you are doing a great job and being too hard on yourself!

If you know when Manoj will be back, it might help the kids to count down the days. Putting stickers on a calendar and counting how many times we have to sleep before a big event has worked really well for us.

Hugs and warm thoughts to you and the kiddos.

~ifer said...

You have such a beautiful love for your children, it leaves me in awe. I think it is amazingly beautiful that your heart hurts when you feel that you have let them down. But I don't think you have. I think you are there for them, comforting them, and trying to give them what they need, and they will remember that. Forever.

QIR said...

Awww. That's a really sweet blog post. Didn't know what to say about yr FIL, so said nothing. Glad to see that there are, as ever, still rainbows at your house.