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I have 3

A little over a year ago I attended Hugh's convocation. He got his special education certificate from the University of Saskatchewan. Who knew the University gave out certificates? And that they take as many classes as a masters to get? Calder spent the day at daycare. If you have been to a convocation you know why. They are BORING. I didn't go to either of my ceremonies, yet somehow I have been to 2/3 of Hugh's. Ha! I am very proud of Hugh, so I bit the bullet and took Boone to sit in the crowd and cheer him on during his 4 seconds of recognition. :-)

As I was waiting for things to get going I wandered around the upstairs lobby with a 3 month old Boone in my arms. I figured even for him it was going to be a long haul sitting in the audience. As I wandered I took note of a little boy and his grandma. When I approached them the woman reached out to me and asked me how old Boone was. Thus began our 20 minute conversation. I returned the comment by asking how old her grandson was. He was two. The age of the little boy was not lost on me. She then asked me if I had any other kids. I said I did, that I had a 4 year old at home as well.

I felt sick.

At the time I had this whole notion that I was protecting Tripp and sheltering him from others when I kept his existence quiet. Even then, I think that deep down, I knew that wasn't true. It was more that I was trying to prevent people from feeling awkward. And sometimes one of those people I was protecting was myself. Experiencing a negative reaction to sharing the most devastating thing I've ever experienced was hard. I would share one of my greatest loves and saddest moments and they would change the subject without even offering condolences or acknowledging what I had said. This does happen. And more than you could even imagine. People are caught off guard. They don't know how to react, so they don't. . . It hurts.

The moment I said I only had two kids, I knew it was a mistake. I tried to find a place for those next 19 minutes to slip in that I hadn't been truthful and tell this woman about Tripp. A place never came and I retreated to my seat feeling horrible.

As I waited for Hugh's name to get called I replayed my conversation with the woman and considered what I could do to avoid how terrible I was feeling. I eventually realized that not mentioning Tripp felt worse than having people react horribly. I decided then and there I would change my automatic response to the "how many kid" question to 3. I felt better, because I knew that the next time would be better.

That evening after a supper out, Hugh and I stopped at a place on Broadway to pick up some dessert to go. I ran into a former student of mine. Impressively, I remembered her name (I am terrible with names) and after asking her about her post-secondary school, she asked me how many kids I had now. I told her 3. She actually never asked how old they were, so any awkwardness that could sometimes come did not. I left with a smile on my face. The next time was better.

Hugh and I hoped into the van and as Hugh turned the key The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" rang out. It was playing on the radio. It had been months and months since I had heard that song. You might not remember the significance of that song, but for me it embodies my grief.

I'm not sure what I believe in terms of how the world works, but I do believe that the fabric of our world is woven together and that things that may not seem connected to us are, in fact, connected. That day it felt like that song on the radio was telling me I was doing the right thing. That saying 3 was the right thing.

In the year since that moment there have only been a couple times that I reverted back and said 2. I am still vulnerable and there have been a couple of situations where I chose to protect myself. For the most part though, that day was a significant one in my grief. I have thought about that day on a weekly basis since. I gained some confidence that day and began the process of not internalize people's reactions.

I have 3.

Comments

  1. I love little signs like that. Beautiful post, my friend.

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  2. Love this too. And so proud of you for putting your spirit first. <3

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  3. This is so beautiful Jordan. I also believe things are connected, and they pop up when you need them most. Blessings to you today.

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  4. the universe has interesting ways of telling us when we're doing the right thing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think of you and Tripp every time I hear that song as well. And it still breaks my heart.

    ReplyDelete

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