Asher’s current career ambition is to be a server. He may, like many people, try it one day but I can guarantee you it’ll never stick. He has too much of his mother’s nature and will never have the patience to cater to other people’s whims on a daily basis.
This weekend, we played “Gross Restaurant,” in which he served me things like a book, a piece of wood and a gold coin from his treasure chest. I couldn’t eat enough of his gross, yucky stuff, because every time I took a pretend bite and spat it out, he laughed that laugh. You know the one. That infectious, full-on, body-shaking giggle.
And like most people, I needed to hear that laugh this weekend. I needed that life-affirming sound more than I needed air.
Yesterday, after school, he wanted to play “Dirty Restaurant.” I won’t go into why except to say that as much as we love our neighborhood, some parts of it are shabby. And not shabby chic.
I was sitting on the floor at the leaf-blower-box-turned-restaurant-table and Ash was offering me things to eat. He picked up a plastic apple from his kitchen, held it up to me and said, “Don’t eat this apple — it’s poison.”
“Oh no, your dirty restaurant has poison apples?” I said dramatically.
“Yes, but you can’t eat it,” he insisted. “There are lots of Ashers in this restaurant and one of them ate this apple and that Asher died.”
My heart went into my throat.
A silent sob racked my body.
I stopped it. I don’t even know how. But I know why.
Asher is in kindergarten and he knows nothing about Sandy Hook. It will stay that way.
In his innocence, he continued to laugh and play, jumping on me as I lay on the floor and pretending to offer me the apple and then snatch it away and save me.
I thought about leaving the room and sobbing like I wanted to. Like I want to a hundred times a day when I think about those who died in Newtown. When I see the rabbit hole across the room and it calls me to come peer inside, maybe even come inside for a visit. There’s one in every room I go into, following me around like a shadow.
I try to stay away, even though I see it in my peripheral vision always.
I am not strong enough to go down that rabbit hole.
I cannot picture the thing that my mind keeps insisting I picture.
I didn’t leave the room. My son was there with me, laughing and rolling around on the floor on top of me. His life-force was calling out to me: be here now. So I chose him. Like I will every day.
I am so blessed. God bless all of those affected by Sandy Hook.