This one is a bit of a tear jerker, grab a box of Kleenex.
Billy clung tightly to his mommy, with his feet standing between her knees. He was settling down to the hiccup like breathing that all little boys do when they’ve cried hard for an extended period. He felt Mommy gently try to move him back from her and hugged her all the tighter. He wasn’t ready to let go of her yet. He had his mommy back and if he had to decide right now, he would never let go of her! This was where he had wanted to be for a long, long time. A memory from the trip to the store with his grandma yesterday, made it’s way through his thoughts.
They had gone to Toys ‘R’ Us to pick up a few things for Bobby. While there Billy had been captivated by a little boy moving by him in a shopping cart as his mommy shopped.
The little boy was so cute with his pastel blue binky, a clip running from the pacifier in his mouth, down to the white shirt with the boats and airplanes printed in dark blue and red. He was wearing denim short-alls that gapped at the inside of his legs, showing off his diaper.
Billy tried not to stare, but he couldn’t help it. He noticed the little boy’s mommy giving him a concerned look. “Does she think I want to hurt him?” he wondered to himself. “Why doesn’t she see that I want to BE him?” he finished with an ache in his heart.
Billy was pulled from his musing as he realized that Mommy was speaking to him. “Baby?” he heard her ask, “Are you feeling better now?”.
There it was again! She had called him “Baby”. No matter how many times he heard her say it, the reaction inside him was the same. Just as he could never have told his mommy what he had needed, he couldn’t begin to describe how hearing that made him feel. A myriad of words whirled around in a vortex within his mind. Love, safe, comfort, were among them as he utterly failed to put it into a coherent thought. Fresh tears fell to his childlike cheeks as he smiled, joy filling his little heart. He nodded.
Giving up on trying to tell her how she made him feel, with her love bolstering his courage, he pulled back from her enough to plant a gentle kiss on her cheek.
“Thank God!” Sharon thought as Billy had stopped the gut wrenching cries of “Mommy”, she couldn’t have endured them much longer. She had held him tightly for a long time, desperately trying to will his hurt from him.
When Billy had settled down to what she used to call “cry breathing”, she tried to gently move him back to see if he was OK, she needed to see it in his eyes. When he responded by gripping her tighter, her heart swelled. Billy wasn’t the only one that had released a great deal of pain, and her baby’s refusal to let go washed the last remnants of the hurt from her soul. She smiled through her tears as she thought “My little boy needs me again.”, a warm feeling spreading over her.
Happily giving up on moving him, she asked “Sweety, are you OK?”. Waiting a moment, she tried again with “Baby? Are you feeling better now?”.
She felt a fresh warm wetness on her neck as he nodded. Her worries disappeared as Billy pulled back, looked at her with a small smile and then gave her a kiss on her cheek.
Sharon would never have thought that one kiss could mean so much to her! With that one act, Billy had told her that, while it hadn’t been all ponies and sunshine, her plan had been the right thing to do. She felt utterly liberated as the fear of having done serious damage to her son left her to be replaced by complete and utter happiness.
Sharon responded the only way she knew how. Cupping his padded, wet bottom with one hand, bringing his head to her shoulder with the other in a gentle embrace, she cried.
Rick sat on his bed, holding Becky close. She was near tears when Billy ran out of the room and they heard him get sick, but when they had heard Sharon tell him she hadn’t meant to hurt him, Becky began to cry. When he upped the ante by calling to his mommy with a little forlorn voice and then shortly afterward crying her name over and over, Becky had been devastated.
She had jumped into his arms, crying “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” when Billy had started seriously wailing.
He was torn. His daughter needed him to help her understand that this wasn’t her fault, and he desperately wanted to make sure Billy was alright. After a second’s thought he understood that Billy needed Sharon right now. His mommy was the only one that could help him. He belonged here with his little girl.
While Rick gave his tears permission to overflow, he forced himself to get control of his emotions. When he could speak clearly, he told Becky “Oh Pumpkin, this is not your fault.”
“Yes it is!” Becky cried. “If I hadn’t woke him up, this wouldn’t have happened.” she explained through her sobs.
“Yes it would Sweety, it just would have been later.” he said brushing her tear soaked hair from her eyes.
“But he’s hurting!” she cried with the empathy clearly showing on her face.
“I…” Rick swallowed and tried again. “I know Sweety, but he has to let it out. It’s the only way he’ll feel better.”
“Please make it stop Daddy.” she whimpered.
“My God, she’s pushing all the right buttons!” he thought as he fought to keep from getting up and running down the hall. “Mommy is doing what he needs right now Sweety, I promise.” he finished, hoping to God that was the truth.
Rick never felt more relieved in his life than when Billy quieted down. “See Pumpkin, he’s OK.” he told Becky.
She nodded her head against his chest and then moved away from him, across the bed to get to the box of tissues.
The sound of footsteps told Rick that Sharon was coming back to the bedroom. He stood up and moved toward the door. The smile on Sharon’s face as she carried Billy with his legs hugging her waist was worth a hundred years’ wages to him. It meant that everything was alright.
“He’ll be fine.” Sharon said softly to Rick as she neared the doorway.
Just then Rick realized he had been holding his breath and let out a huge sigh.
Billy chose that moment to open his eyes and turn in his mommy’s arms to look at his daddy. Rick was just about to move to kiss his son when with fear in his big brown eyes, Billy turned in his mommy’s arms, held his arms out to Rick and said hesitantly “Daddy?”
Rick understood in that one little word, Billy was asking him to tell his son it was OK to be who he was, was begging him not to be disappointed in him for what Billy wanted.
He couldn’t do it anymore. Everything he had been holding in came out in that moment. Sobbing, he reached out and pulled his little boy from Sharon’s arms, bringing him close and holding him tight. All he could do is rock his son gently, with occasional bouts of his own crying interrupting him as he told Billy “It’s OK baby boy, It’s OK.”
Sharon stood watching her husband cry as he rocked his baby boy. “Cathy wasn’t kidding!” she thought as tears ran down her cheeks. “She said this would be a day of tears.” she remembered from their phone conversation yesterday. Grabbing a tissue from the box, Sharon moved to the bed, sat down and pulled Becky into her lap, hugging her close.
As she continued to watch Rick, she saw relief in his face. It dawned on her that he had been worried that Billy wouldn’t need him anymore. Her husband’s words came back to her then “he did ask for his Mommy back after all.” and she smiled through her tears as she understood that he knew better now.