MamaBlogger365 – Living in Limbo by Mary Rekosh
**I wrote this piece just before the horrifying tragedy unfolded in Connecticut. So many of the victims were children of the same age that I discuss here, and I know that their parents must have been every bit as enchanted with them as I am with my own 7-year-old.
The agony and despair that these parents have been thrust into is unimaginable; that they will never kiss their child goodnight again, hold their hand to cross the street, put a superhero Band-aid on a skinned knee. That they’ll never again watch their baby – who somehow, unbelievably, is no longer an infant in their arms or a giggling toddler but rather a gangly, bright-eyed first-grader – flash them a gap-toothed smile and a hurried wave when they’re told “Have a great day, I love you” as they climb the steps of the school bus with their oversized backpack nearly capsizing their undersized body.
My heart is broken for those families for whom the wondrous state of childhood limbo described below is, staggeringly and tragically, the final chapter. May peace somehow, someday, be with them and with all of us.
I’ve discovered that in the timeline of childhood, somewhere between the milestones of ‘first steps’ and ‘first date’, lies a fleeting and harmonious state of limbo where an unadulterated Belief in Magic walks hand in hand with the discovery of The Real World. As I write this, I’m floating there with my oldest, Ben, who is 7. He’s mature enough to have put in the earnest request that I stop calling him “Pumpkin” in front of his friends, while at the same time he leaves detailed notes to the Tooth Fairy requesting that she not linger in his bedroom or frighten his younger siblings.
For the moment he has one foot on either side of a growing chasm, and the results have proven to be delicious… when they don’t bring me to tears with the realization that my innocent, eager, and delightfully wondrous little boy is on the precipice of Growing Up. Here are a couple of recent anecdotes that illustrate what I’m trying to say:
**Last week when I was in Ben’s first grade classroom, they were discussing a print of a mid-19th century painting of a group of men wearing different types of hats. After several minutes of careful prompting by their teacher, the kids figured out that the wide-brimmed hats would have been used for sun protection and it was likely that those men worked outside, perhaps as farmers. The teacher then pointed out how some of the other men wore taller, black top hats with a very narrow brim. She asked: “Now, if those men wearing wide-brimmed hats were farmers who worked out in the sun, what might the men who wore tall, narrow-brimmed hats have been?” The kids responded, immediately and pretty much unanimously: “Magicians.”
**The following is a conversation that I overheard between Ben and his 5-year-old sister, Janie:
Janie: “Ben, I bet the elves are working really hard making presents right now.”
Ben: “Janie, the elves don’t make the presents. I think Santa sneaks into stores at night and takes them, and the elves help organize everything.”
Janie: “No, the elves MAKE them at the North Pole.”
Ben: “Then how do you explain the presents that say ‘Made in China’?”
**A couple of nights ago, as I snuggled and chatted with Ben before he fell asleep, he said: “Mom, what if we just laid here and talked all night some time? We could do that soon, right? Because I’m almost a Big Kid.” …It’s a date, Pumpkin.
It’s my sincere hope that the Sandy Hook families who lost their beautiful babies will eventually find some solace in their memories of stories like these that were created with their own children.
Bio: Mary Rekosh is a freelance writer, children’s yoga instructor and mother of three in Charlottesville, VA. She is also a parenting columnist and a blogger who hopes that documenting the found humor in her journey through motherhood will help others gain a fresh perspective as well. She believes that children are meant to be seen, heard and definitely laughed about.
MamaBlogger365 is a blogging project coordinated on behalf of the Museum of Motherhood, now open in New York City! Exhibits, events, a Meet the Expert series, playgroups, arts programs and more – visit MOMmuseum.org for hours and info.