Sometime in November, Jacob experienced his first case of heartburn. I’m not exactly sure what we had for dinner that night, but he came to me on the couch, complaining that his heart hurt. He was pressing on his chest and breathing deeply and anxiously pacing back and forth. I explained what heart burn was and rummaged through some drawers until I found a bottle of Tums. A few chalky chews later and he was back in his bed, snug as a bug.
A week or two later and we were in the initial throws of the diagnosis. That Saturday morning our house was completely enveloped in fog, and it was raining. I woke-up gripped with fear. The anguish was truly unbearable; gut-wrenching. It was a panic attack. The closest I’ve ever come to something like it were those twenty minutes of labor sans drugs, when Baby Nate was born.
Jakey found me in my bed. He hugged me and rubbed my back and repeated comfortingly, “Deep breaths Mama. Deep breaths… Just clear your mind. Clear your mind.”
Once it had passed he nodded knowingly, “Heartburn, Mama? Heartburn?”
“Yes, definitely heartburn.”
Despite Jake’s emotional volatility, sometimes he is so unbelievably mature and wise. As he was rubbing my back he asked me, “What are you afraid of Mama… are you afraid of being alone?”
And there it was.
A week or two later, Nate found me crying after a particularly difficult day. His brother climbed the stairs to our room and Nate quietly consults him, “Mama’s sad. About Dada.”
Jacob goes downstairs to make me a cup of hot tea and Nate climbs into my bed and just hugs me. His bare little chest against mine. He doesn’t talk. He just lets me cry. He kisses my brow. And my arm. And my shoulder. He knows exactly what I need. He is loving presence.
This weekend we received the most beautiful, special gift from my dearest high school friends. It’s a handmade bowl overflowing with rolled-up jokes, drawings, comics, quotes and words of encouragement wrapped in ribbons and rainbows. I’ve never seen anything like it— it is profoundly creative, beautiful and special.
I must admit, when I first opened it, I was overwhelmed. I mentally labeled it the Bowl of Tears and was anxious about unwrapping the little scrolls. But the boys dove right in and after several “kid” jokes like: “What seafood goes well with peanut butter? Jellyfish!” I knew I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is the most precious Bowl of Love.
Yes, there’s some heartburn, how could there not be? But more than anything, it’s a daily dose of what matters most.
My sincerest thanks to my most special Pirates and their crew. I love you with all my hearrrt.