Will You Visit Me?


Will you come to my birthday parties?

I’m going to buy you something very special.

Carmen, when is your birthday?

“December 18th, the week before Christmas, darling,” I ruffled his soft brown hair as we walked home from dropping his brother off at Rock Band Land.

“Carmen, I’m going to get you something amazing for your birthday, I’m going to get you brussels sprouts, five boxes,” he said and squeezed my hand hard (sometimes we get brussel sprouts at the Mission Farmer’s Market on Thursday afternoons over on Bartlet and 22nd Streets.  There is a food truck that does rotisserie chicken and every once in a while we stop there and get a roast chicken and boxes of brussels sprouts).

Oh sugar.

I kept a straight face, “thank you honey, that would be amazing.”

And so it begins.

The parents of my current charges have obviously begun prepping the boys for my departure.

Which explains why the littlest guy for the last couple of weeks has been hitting me and calling me stupid when he sees me and being very aggressive.

Classic splitting and projecting.

He can’t handle the emotions inside his little four-year old body and they are coming out in words and actions that I’m not very fond of.

But.

Being a psychology masters student.

Theoretically I understand quite well.

At one point in the day today I engaged with the four-year old one on one at dinner and asked him what he needed when I sat down next to him and he called me stupid and hit my knee.

“Are you trying to tell me something,” I said softly.  “Is there something you need from me?”  I continued, “I don’t like being hit my sweet friend, can you tell me what’s wrong?”

He hit me again, but this time softer.

“Are you mad at me?” I asked quietly.

He nodded his head affirmatively.

“Can I help you with anything?”  I asked and rubbed his hand softly, “it’s ok to be mad at me.”

“Hold me,” he said in a soft, plaintive voice that just about broke my heart.

“I need a hug and a cuddle,” he continued and crawled from his chair at the dinner table into my lap with his little stuffed cat, a blanket, and a pillow from the couch.

I arranged him in my lap and gave him a warm hug and tucked the blanket around him and let him eat the rest of his dinner swaddled with his stuffed cat on my lap.

I told him I loved him and that he was very important to me.

I told his brother the same thing as we walked.

“Carmen,” he said, and kissed my hand, “you will always be in my heart, make sure that you are coming to all my birthday parties and that I will get to see you all the time.”

Well, kiddo, I don’t know about all the time, but I could probably swing a birthday party or two and considering that the family I got hired to work with next and the family I currently work with are friends, I suspect that there will be more of you in my life than previous charges.

We had a sweet day today.

I had a lot of unexpected time with the boys and I was very grateful for that, and unsupervised, which is also a really nice thing.

We went to Mission Thrift and rummaged through the bins of silverware and kitchen cook ware and spent all of $1.39 for a good half hour of fun and getting to get some exciting “new” utensils for their tiny play kitchen.

We went to Paxton Gate for Kids and played with the toys and annoyed the hell out of the staff, but fuck it, they’ve got to be used to it by this point, it’s a kids store and I did buy stickers there and the parents have probably spent thousands of dollars in the store, easy.

We went to Mission Playground and rode the merry-go-round and I had a gaggle of kids spinning and whooping and screaming on it off and on for a good 45 minutes.

It was pretty hilarious and a lot of fun.

“Carmen!  You got your exercise!”  The six-year-old exclaimed as we left the park.

Boy howdy, did I ever.

My left shoulder is still a little sore from it.

So it goes.

Then a big lunch, running around had worked up an appetite for them and then an hour of quiet time.

Which was not really an hour as I got a text from the mom saying they were running behind and would I take the four-year old to Rock Band Land?

Hell yes I will.

We had an awesome walk over.

We dropped off the youngest boy.

Then we ran into friends and went for a cookie, well, he had a cookie, and I had a cafe au lait, cafe play date at Stable Cafe on Folsom and 17th.

It really was just a sweet and sunny day.

And although I didn’t get a chance to engage with the mom and dad around the end date of the job I am very grateful that they are taking on the actions of letting the boys know that I will be transitioning to a new job.

There are challenging days ahead, I am sure of it, but I know if I stay true to my feelings of warmth and love for the boys the waters will be navigated just fine.

And it is something to be leaving a family after two and a half years and the children being so advanced with their communication skills.

Most of the time I’m leaving a family with toddlers.

These boys have feelings and they are letting me know.

It is hard.

But.

It is exquisite.

It really is a gift to have such love reflected back to me.

I suspect that I have always known that I have an impact on the children I have gotten to work with, but I have never had it articulated to me in the way that it was today.

It is an extraordinary thing to let myself be seen and loved.

So very grateful.

Beyond words.

Just beyond.

And ready to move on too.

Nice to be able to hold both emotions.

Shit.

It’s nice to hold all the feelings.

All the feels.

All the time.

It.

Really.

Is.

Good times.

Seriously.

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