Sometimes my heart aches and breaks and I feel crushed beneath the weight of emotion when I think about Brendan. He's my darling, intensely feeling child. I swear he lives and breathes with every fibre of his being. He's sensitive beyond what any one person should have to endure and I often find myself thinking about Wordsworth's poem:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The Winds that will be howling at all hours;
And are gathered up now like sleeping flowers –
For this, for everything, we are out of tune.
It moves us not.
Great God! I would rather be
A Pagan, suckled in a creed outworn,
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blowing his wreathed horn.
I guess I feel like Brendan is so connected to this Earth, so present to every moment of his life, unlike 99 percent of us. He feels everything so deeply, the joy and the pain. I worry about the pain. I worry when he takes responsibility for the pain and well-being of others.
Of course I want him to care about other people, especially his brother. But I worry when he worries about protecting others. And of course, when he hurts, I hurt. And he seems to hurt very deeply.
He sat in my lap and cried for 30 minutes yesterday when I told him about Mao. I'm actually thankful he reacted that way, really. It shows that he has the ability to love animals and understands they are important parts of our families. I think his reaction in that instance is perfectly normal.
But I worry about his reaction to other things over which he has no control. He overheard a news story about a day care center in Tennessee that was closed by the state after investigators found a 4-month old boy with a pacifier taped in his mouth. I don't generally let Brendan watch the news, but I was watching CNN at 6:00 a.m. when he wandered into the room and heard the story. The reporter stated that the boy might have died had they not arrived when they did. Brendan was very upset and asked why someone would do that.
How do you explain that one?
Several days later he came back to me and asked me what he should do if one of their babysitters ever taped a pacifier to Beckett's mouth and locked him in the bathroom! He was so worried.
Naturally, I explained that we know all of our sitters very well and they're all friends of our family and he should never worry about that. I told him that if a sitter ever did anything wrong or told him not to tell his parents about something that happened that he should tell us no matter what. Then, he asked if he could call me if we weren't home and tell me and got all worried over not knowing how to use the phone. It was so very sad.
I promised I would teach him to use the phone. (As an aside, I have tried teaching him before, but he has shown zero interest up until this point.) I told him not to worry and that no one we know would do that sort of thing -- that only bad people would do something like that. And I thought we were okay.
Then, the day before yesterday, he asked me if bad guys have mommies. When I said that they did, he freaked out! I mean, on the floor kicking and screaming, "No! No! No! Bad guys don't have mommies. I don't want them to have mommies!"
It just broke my heart.
What do you do with a little guy who is so sensitive? How does he survive in this world? This big ugly, scary, heartbreaking world?