My youngest son was having a tough time saying good night when he knew I would be leaving the next morning. So he found a teddy bear for me to carry on my journey. I promised to send photos of all the places we were together. And I did for that first day. To my horror however I discovered that some how the bear had fallen from my bag at some point between Houston and Atlanta.
The first thing I did was order him a replacement. My husband coached me to only admit the loss should my son notice. I didn’t want to break his heart and this seemed the easiest way to avoid that. I thought my plan would go off just fine because he had not asked about the bear after my first night away. The night I had tossed all my belongings out of my suitcase all over my room in frantic search for the bear.
As I waited to board my final flight, in a facetime chat with him, he asked “did you find Knut?” Now I had a choice here, the easy road or the the honest road. Another bear, looking just the same awaited me in a box at home. I could say “Yes love he is in my suitcase and can not wait to see you.” This would have saved me witnessing his breaking heart. It would have also compromised the integrity of our relationship.
I looked in to his eyes staring earnestly at me through my phone and admitted “No love I think I really lost him.” My fears were spot on. He melted in to a pile of tears and sobbed the sounds only heartbreak can bring out of a person. He cried and I was a 4 hours plane ride away. So I sat on the other end of the phone and listened to his sobs. I held the space for him to cry. I could not fix it. He did not want a new bear.
“Are you a little bit mad at me?” I asked.
A tear stained face nodded to affirm.
“I would be mad at me too. You trusted me with your bear and I lost him.”
The dam opening again and a new flood of tears escaping.
“I ordered a new bear and wasn’t going to tell you about loosing him. But then I remembered that my relationship with you was more important.”
“Thank you mom.” he squeaked through his heartbreak.
Even though he was mad at me and sadder then I would ever hope for his day, he had a piece of gratitude for this little part. He later said to me “Mom I was a little bit mad at you for loosing him but that was just an accident. If you had told me a lie I would have been so mad I would have wanted to hit you.”
These moments are the true magic of building the sorts of trusting bonds that will invite me in to their sacred spaces. He trusts me now, more then ever, to tell him the truth, even when it hurts.