"I'm not sure if I'm excited to check out this cabin since Nana can't come." he said softly.
I cringed, afraid of where this conversation was headed. I placed a spoon in his bowl of cereal, poured in some milk and responded.
"Why is that, love?" I pushed his bowl across the counter to him.
He pulled out the spoon, tapped it on the side of the bowl to remove any milk that was on it, and set it on the left side of his dish.
When will I remember to just hand him his spoon and quit sticking it in his bowl?! I thought to myself. I watched him stiffen his body and stretch his fingers before picking his spoon back up to eat.
He poked around at his cereal a little. "I don't think its fair cause you guys got to do fun stuff with her there and since she's stuck in heaven, I don't get to." He began to eat quietly. His shoulders were heavy and his eyes were sad.
So many thoughts started running through my head. I specifically didn't talk about Nana OR Catie with this trip because I don't want it to be upsetting for either of them. Where is this coming from?
Then it dawned on me. In just the five short years of his life he had heard ten plus years worth of stories from our summers together as a family at this cabin. Now we were preparing to go back to the very same place. It would be his first time there as well as his little brothers. It is also the very first time going back without his Nana or Auntie.
I often over look the way he thinks and just how much he puts together. He is typically less emotional and more serious. He's not one to shout with excitement or cry over something that most children would be sad about. He doesn't laugh easily. He very much acts as he speaks which is often monotone. Because of this I forget that whats being shown on the outside isn't always a good picture of whats going on inside. I assumed that because he has never been to this place, aside from the usual anxiety that comes with an unknown situation, he wouldn't have an issue with the idea of going. But, he was quickly showing me that he had a lot of things going on inside that he was having a difficult time explaining.
I tried to reassure him that it would be a wonderful trip. I made sure he knew I was deeply sorry that he never got to experience it with Nana. I could tell that my words were just that. Words. He was clearly upset.
It was later in the afternoon now. He was jumpy all throughout the day and repeating things quite a bit which was letting me know he was still uncomfortable. We ran into a drug store really quickly to grab something and as we were walking to the checkout I saw a shelf stocked with blue tins full of Royal Dansk butter cookies. Instantly, flashbacks of my Nana filled my mind. She always had these cookies on hand. I grabbed a tin.
"Cookies?" he asked
We never just buy cookies. I usually bake them since we eat gluten free.
"yup! You're going to love these! Did you know, Nana always bought these cookies? We used to eat them at her house, and sometimes she brought a tin of them to our house. Here, will you carry them please?"
We checked out and got in the car. I opened the tin right away.
"Let's just have one now!" I said.
The boys couldn't believe it. A tin of cookies? With gluten? In the car, before dinner? As they ate their cookies I explained to Joey that on days that I feel very sad or frustrated that I can't spend time with Nana, I like to do something I know she enjoyed. Sometimes its going for a nice walk outside, or grabbing a bagel and coffee downtown. Maybe playing a game of cards. Today he was missing her and these cookies were just sitting right in front of us in a store we had no intentions of going into. I explained that the cookies could be a special thing we enjoy while we think about her.
"Can we not eat anymore cookies please? I want to pack them for Tahoe. Then, I can give some to Poppie if he starts to miss his mom." He said with cookie in his cheeks.
"I think that is a very thoughtful thing to do and I think Poppie will LOVE to eat some butter cookies with you." I smiled at him, trying not to shove 10 butter cookies in my own mouth so I wouldn't cry.
"I was also thinking that we can play cards together and we can pretend like she is teaching me like she taught all of you, okay mom?"
That boy. He's always thinking.