I just put my four year old, Michael, in time out. He has five minutes until he can come back out to me.
Now I wonder what he’s doing while he waits. Is he wondering why he was put in time out? Does he understand why he’s being punished? Is he thinking about all the things he could be doing if he wasn’t in time out?
Knowing my son, he’s probably just found a toy to play with and doesn't even realize he's in time out.
I myself have never been good at waiting. If something needs to get done, I get it done. I’m not one to sit calmly in traffic. I’ll drive miles out of the way just to know that I’m still moving toward my destination. My husband and I stood for about thirty seconds in the line for a roller coaster before we decided to just buy the fast pass.
So one of the biggest realizations I’ve had since Johnathan died is that there is nothing I can do but wait. I am stuck in this permanent state of waiting for the moment I’ll meet him again in Heaven someday. I can't just make it happen. I can’t just take another route and get to him. I can’t just buy a fast pass and ride the coaster of life all the way to the end. I just have to wait.
So what do I do while I wait?
Right now, I'm thinking about all the things I could be doing if I wasn't stuck here like this. Feeling like I can't go back in time to when Johnathan was here, but I also don't want to move forward without Johnathan in my life. Some mornings it takes every ounce of energy simply to decide to wake up. My biggest motivation right now is Michael. He needs his mother to be here even while I'm in this state of waiting.
So I go through the motions of life. I make sure there's food in the fridge and the dog is walked, but that's about all I have the energy for right now. Grief is exhausting. It zaps the energy out of you when all you've done all day is sit on the couch. As the sun goes down, I realize that I made it another day.
Getting through the day just means I have another day to get through.
I think about all the things I could be doing right now with Michael and Johnathan if he hadn't died. I had planned trips to the zoo and bought a family pass to the water park for the summer. We had started looking for a house to set roots down in North Carolina. We wanted a house big enough for two growing boys that we knew someday would be teenagers. We wanted an extra bedroom and plenty of space indoors and out for two very active boys.
But now I know that those dreams I had will never come true the way I imagined.
It's been five minutes. Michael came out of his room. I asked him what he thought about while he was waiting for the time to come back to Mommy. He held up a ball of pink, purple, and sparkle grey Play-doh that he had rolled together and flattened. He said he made a cake for me. He said it even had a surprise inside. He handed it to me and I slowly peeled back the squished layers of Play-doh to reveal Marshall, the pup from Paw Patrol.
He found something to do while he waited. He made a cake for me and even included a surprise.
I guess if I have to wait for the day when I will be re-united in Heaven with Johnathan, I should at least find a way to "make a cake" and maybe even "include a surprise".