I wrote this blog a week or so ago… I was having an interesting time processing what was going on with our sweet son and in the world, as I am sure all parents of all age children were.
Today I listened to Wyatt play outside with Rodney. He was running, screaming and laughing and pretending there were tigers outside about to attack. He battled them with rocks and finally a squid. Did you know that squid beat tigers? I sure didn’t, especially out here in the desert. Earlier we went for a walk and Wyatt insisted that today Rodney and I were also kids. “Right now you’re kids too, my age. Ok?” he said. We went on a nature walk and found fossils and pretended to be lost and find our way home. This was all such a relief, a breath of fresh air both literally and figuratively. Because lately growing up has been pretty hard. I have cried more than normal lately watching Wyatt go through some tough growing pains. If you have kids, you too, have probably endured these same conversations as of late.
Unfortunately our children are growing up in a world filled with uncertainty. It’s a true shame that we have to worry about things like mass shootings and whether or not our children will be accepted by modern society. Two very important and stressful things for so many of us. Kids are intuitive too, they know that we worry. We worry not only about those two things but literally everything.
So it is with no surprise at all that our 3 year old is asking questions. It got really interesting a week ago when we heard there was a live shooter in Floresville at the park. This was the day the Vice President was to be in town for the vigil for the Sutherland Springs Church shooting victims. We were instantly worried because this park was on the same highway Rodney’s dad was supposed to be driving on to head over to Pleasanton to see us. We had not realized that all of this over the past few months had been sinking into his little head. He asked us if his papaw was going to be ok, why would a live shooter do that to papaw. We carefully explained to him the situation that of course papaw was going to be ok and what the situation really was. When we arrived over to Rodney’s sister’s house where we were all meeting, Wyatt informed everyone, “There is a live shooter in Floresville in the park and we can’t go there to play right now.” Later he asked me if his best friend Stella was ok. It was literally heart breaking to see the concern and confusion in his face. I never in all my life would have imagined I would be having a conversation about this topic with my 3 year old. The words “live shooter” should not be in his vocabulary. He already understands death. He was in the house where my grandmother passed away this year. He knew she was there one day and the next day her room was empty. He attended her funeral. He told people to “say goodbye to granny, she’s going to live with Jesus”. That’s some serious dark comedy right there. We have also had a hard year explaining to Wyatt why he has only one grandmother. I’m so serious, he asked us one day, ‘Why do I only have one maymay?” We then had to have the conversation of where his other grandmother, Grandma Kiki, was. He already kind of knew, but at that point it was a direct question, therefore requiring a direct answer. My parents were always straight with me so I want to do the same for Wyatt. He’s getting more in depth information now and you can see that it sticks at times. Wyatt can explain to you that if you don’t wear your seatbelt and get in an accident you will probably cut open your head and blood and meat will come out, and if that happens you can die and you won’t be here anymore (his paraphrasing). You are probably asking why in the world I would ever say that to my child, right? Well, he is a master negotiator. At least twice a week we fight about the car seat and seat belt. I go through many reasons why he has to wear it and I am met with many reasons why he doesn’t want to wear it. The only way I have won this (without an epic meltdown of tears and puking) is by telling him what is going to happen to him or me or his daddy if we don’t take care of ourselves by wearing our seatbelts, in the event of an unfortunate accident.
That is just one of the many ways he has grown this year. A very early understanding of death. Crude as it may be, it is what it is.
On the lighter side of things Wyatt has grown in other ways too. His ability to express himself to strangers is getting better. He has never been shy, but has had a hard time getting the right words out before, but now is able to have interesting conversations easily. Jokes are his favorite, so right now if you see him he will probably tell you a joke. Helping people is “his thing”. Those are Wyatt’s words not mine. He loves to help. Keeping in mind his help is not always helpful in the adults eyes, but he is trying so very hard. He is part of a small population of children who know about things like how leveling jacks work, what sway bars are for and how to dump tanks on an RV.
He has grown a hair over 2 inches since January when I started keeping track of his growth for the year. This fact makes him both very excited and then very sad. He says he really doesn’t want to grow up and would rather stay little. After this year, I think he fully understands the depth of what he is saying, in some weird intuitive way.
People are constantly telling us, enjoy it now, they grow up fast. This could not be more true. I wish he didn’t have to know some of the things he does. So, we’ll just be over here trying to not stifle this wild 3 year old and trying to raise a genuinely kind person.