Thursday, 14 October 2010

Is ignorance bliss when you're five?

The 14th of October is a significant date in British history.

On this day in 1066 The Battle of Hastings was fought. Battles were so much more efficient back then, as was personalised tapestry, obviously.

However many years later, but on the same day in October, my wonderful wife, my son's fabulous mother, was born.

As she loved them, the celebration of her birthday was always a tumultuous affair. She yielded much enjoyment from presents, surprises, well wishes and the attention a 'loud' birthday can bring.

And those around her, that loved her, obviously got great pleasure in her happiness too. Not least of all me.

My son never got to share one of his mother's birthdays in the flesh, although he was a huge part of her last birthday celebrations, her 30th.

She was six months pregnant with him, so technically, he was at one of her parties, albeit as a foetus.

The growing question though has been how to handle them since her passing.

To me anniversaries of her birthday, her death and other significant dates in our lives are no big deal, I even managed to forget our wedding anniversary this year.

They are simply another day, today I love her no less, and think of her no more, than I will tomorrow.

However I am aware that this isn't the same for everyone, and as I try to help my boy manage his grief for his horrendous loss, today gave me a dilemma.

Do I tell him today would have been his mother's 36th birthday?

I am not sure why, but it felt like the right thing to do this morning.

Most likely as he is getting to the age where he will work out that I am keeping things from him.

And however well intentioned my shielding is, interpretation by him could possibly lead to mistrust and worry about what else I am not passing on.

I also think he has the ability to accept things for what they are, face reality, feel sad about things, but act with acceptance and understanding.

He didn't quite gloss over the fact today, he most certainly acknowledged it, but it wasn't long before I was getting his breakfast order and quizzed on who I preferred. Indiana Jones or Jesus Christ being my 'either or' this morning.

The walk to school was a pleasant one, and he was clearly in good spirits going into school. I chose not to tell his teacher or any of his peers. I didn't want them checking 'he was OK' all day, rather treat him like normal.

Concern for my child while at school is never zero, but today it was a little higher than usual, and I envisaged his mood possibly being a little sombre at home time.

That wasn't the case at all.

He was the third kid out of the door today, with a huge whacking smile on his beautiful boat race.

I got a squeeze, and obviously his school bag and lunch box a few seconds later.

Our saunter home was joyous, not least at all because two Justice League DVDs had arrived, recommended to me by Mr Hughes in light of me revealing I think most of children's television is awful.

I was tempted to call these impromptu items gifts on the day of his mother's birthday, but didn't, fearing creating a beast, and setting a dangerous precedent.

Who knows, next year may be very different, but today has been anything but sad.

Super boy even managed to swim a length of the pool tonight, a whole 25 metres.

Have some of that.

His mom couldn't have asked for a better present.

Although, I'm sure she would have tried.