I have always felt very strongly that I should answer the questions my children ask - about sex, death, math, reading, whatever - as honestly as I can and in as comprehensible-to-them a way as I can. And I think my children need to know that I am human. I am fallible. I am damaged. I am strong. I am complicated. And I love them unendingly. Forever. No matter what.
But sometimes...oh sometimes answering those questions and giving my children a glimpse of my most human parts is both natural and seemingly cruel. Cruel to my kids or to myself, I'm not sure.
As I've fallen off the blogging bandwagon and hardly blogged in the two years since we left the town where my children were born and, hence, am sure to have new readers, I will give a quick re-cap.
I have PTSD and my main trigger is emergency vehicles. Firetrucks are especially triggering. Generally I am prepared when I'm driving to do a maybe-kooky thing to stop flashbacks because flashbacks while driving are not ok. Sometimes I am blindsided. It all goes back to the pivotal moments of my life as I watched my mother's life slip away suddenly. So suddenly.
Tonight I briefly explained my trigger to Bean. A-Train was there too, and knowing the way his little brain operates I'm sure he didn't miss a word of it as he stared out the window.
I was driving us home from a dinner and we pulled out onto the main road through town. I heard sirens. Check the rearview mirror. Nothing. Look ahead of me. Nothing. Check the rearview. Nothing. Check every side street. Nothing.
By the time I saw the ambulance (thank goodness it wasn't a firetruck), I was stopped at a red light and it was coming toward us. Heartbeat quickening. There is no one in the north- or south-facing left-turn lanes so the ambulance can surely pass. It's ok. It's ok. It's ok. I must have mumbled something to The Beast as I held his hand and confirmed with him that the best thing for me to do was stay stopped exactly where I was.
Because Bean asked me why I was upset.
I've never given him details.
I've never told him that I ran after a firetruck to help Grandma Nita and I came back to find her, essentially, dead.
But tonight, in the midst of trying to calm my body down and keep the adrenaline from really flowing, I told my son about my deepest, darkest, toughest, most-hidden damage.
When Grandma Nita died I chased a firetruck. It turned the wrong way and I wasn't sure how they would come back to help Grandma Nita. And now my body sometimes does a thing where it acts like I'm back on that day.
The day Grandma Nita died.
Grandma Nita died.
My mom died. And I'm your mom.
It's ok for them to see that I'm human. I don't think I'm ready for them to realize that I am mortal.