From Bears to Tears (try not to let that rhyme)

The risk of building anything is the fear that it will fall.

On Sunday, Addison cried. Three times. Three. Separate. Times.

No, seriously, this was about 10 seconds later. Addison totally saw it coming.

The first time was immediately after the Bears lost to the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Through the entire second half he had been begging to play Wii, but when the game was over he disappeared. I figured he had given up. A few minutes later, I heard the whimpering.

He had buried his head in the pillows of the guest room bed. He was sobbing. I asked if he was okay. He was not.

“I wanted the Bears to win!” He was as angry as he ever has been when denied Wii time, which is pretty much the zenith of his anger.

“I know. Me too.” Pause. Realization. Peace. “But they lost. I’m sad, too.” It felt good for me to say that. Any angst I had over the loss (and their was plenty) had dissipated at just admitting the fact and trying to help him do the same.’

“I hate the Packers. They’re stupid.” Here’s where it was my job to tell him we don’t use words like hate and stupid and that we have to learn to lose graciously.

“Yeah, they are. But they won.”

“I wish Sam Shields [who caught the game-clinching interception] wasn’t even on the field. And B. J. Raji is a big, fat stupid-head.” Heather would later inform Addison that it isn’t polite to call people fat, but I stood with Addison in this case; not because it’s polite, but come on, the guy weighs 350 pounds, and that’s part of his job. Let’s just face fats. Not a typo.

“I know. But we have to lose with grace and dignity, Addison. They won, and it’s not like a video game where we can retry until we get it right. It’s over, and we have to accept it.” Again, this felt good to say, and I was really hoping it was a lesson he could learn with some completeness much earlier than I did (seeing as though I was essentially just reaching that awareness myself).

It looked like it hit him, like something profound had dawned. And he asked me the question of timeless importance: “Can I play Wii?”

I’ll accept that as moving on.

The second bout of tears was a direct result of Colin running off with Addison’s glasses. Addison needs his glasses. For seeing. Normally it doesn’t produce tears (although the retaliation often does). I figured he was just a little raw. Poor kid. I don’t like seeing him cry, but I did remind him that sometimes it’s good to cry just to express the sadness and acknowledge its significance. Back to Wii.

The third time, though, was the most troubling. Heather was still helping clean up after a party we had long since departed (around halftime of the aforementioned football disaster). The boys and I were eating dinner. Mid-bite, Addison broke out into sobs again. I figured it was the Bears grief resurfacing. Nope.

“I miss Mommy!”

“Me too, buddy, but she’ll be back soon.”

“I hope she makes it.”

I assured him that she would. I also told him that I have thoughts like that, too, sometimes. I didn’t go into detail beyond that, but I do get afraid of car accidents and sickness and miscellaneous acts of God. I convince myself it’s just foolish imagination, but whenever Heather and the boys return from any absence whatsoever, they bring a rush of convincing relief along with them. Prior to that rush, though, Addison needed more reassuring.

So we talked about what we love about Mommy. That she’s so full of love we can’t take it. That she has a heart so big and strong and generous that we always feel like we’re the most important thing in the whole world. That her hugs are magical. It helped. We were happy. But we were very, very happy when she got home.

We all (and if you don’t, please nod along as if you totally do) fear missing out on what we wish for and losing what we have. Even seven-year-old boys. And thirty-five-year-old boys. I was glad to be reminded that it’s okay to cry about it and just as important (but not necessarily more so) to move on.

And this morning, I was pleased to see how Addison had chosen to move on. Three days later. Last night when I checked on him, he had put his glasses back on. That usually means he’s been reading. This morning, Heather found a copy of I Love You Forever under his pillow. You know the one. It’s about holding on to who you love, not to stop them from moving on, but because you’ll never really let go.

Of football games, yes. Of Mommy, no way. Regardless of what it is we might lose, though, that’s no excuse not to keep dreaming, keep loving, and keep ready for the tears that are all too certain. It’s cool, though, they’re worth it.

2 Replies to “From Bears to Tears (try not to let that rhyme)”

  1. I'm glad someone else has that rush of relief when the family returns…Thought I was the only one who felt it somethin' fierce…

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