On Sunday, we found out about the tragedy at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The story was almost too much to handle. Naturally being parents of a child that age and having been a frequent patrons of that zoo, five minutes from our home, we couldn't help but feel shock and unbelievable sadness for this family.
However, our family's story varies from some others who are outsiders grieving. Last year Max chose these dogs as his Kindergarten animal report. During a visit to the zoo, he had fallen in love with them. We visited the zoo many times to take notes, observe their behavior, and hope to catch a zookeeper in the vicinity to chat with. Max read several books and articles about these dogs. We learned that they are one of few carnivores that care for the elderly and ill in their pack. He was especially intrigued by their communication with each other while they were hunting. They use a series of clicks and other noises to convey messages to each other in order to bring down large prey. The have an unbelievable speed that allows them to exhaust extremely large prey by outrunning them. In Africa, they are feared by farmers as predators but because of their desire to chase their prey, they are typically not a concern to trapped animals. AND typically they walk among people in Africa without bothering them at all.
Our bright, sensitive son, has been quiet for a few days. His non-quiet times have been overly emotional seemingly overtired outbursts of strange behavior. Deetch and I have been watching closely wondering, if maybe, it's been about these dogs. He has been eeking out tidbits of information, hints of sadness.
"It's not their fault, that's what wild dogs do. They are carnivores."
We were so scared about this comment. What's wrong with my six year old?
"All the kids at school keep talking to me about my dogs. I keep telling them it's too sad and not appropriate to talk about"
Today I asked for prayer at Bible Study...just for my sweet son who needs to find the words to express what this situation is doing to his little sweet heart.
After school today I asked him how he was and mentioned that the kids were still talking about the dogs. I asked him how he was handling it.
He said "I feel so sad for that family. I feel guilty for loving those dogs so much. I feel like it's my fault."
Throughout talking with him, I was able to figure out that he didn't feel guilty or at fault for that little boy's tragic death but for loving them even in spite of what had happened. His lip quivered throughout the conversation and he finally was able to accept that those dogs are wild and unpredictable. Being out of the environment God had created them for made them react differently than the dogs were had studied. He seemed to have a lighter heart when he finished talking but he definitely still was thinking a lot about what had happened....
Learning about how to handle your kids and teaching your kids how to handle life is my greatest challenge. Max is on a different plane than Talia. He is a thinker while she is much more carefree. Seeing his angst and sadness about this loss was incredible. How now do I teach him about compartmentalizing things and remembering sadness but not being paralyzed by it...whew. It truly never ends. But what a joy it is to know them....
Sunday, November 4, 2012
*i stopped writing in this blog regularly a while ago. i miss doing it because it was a great way to document all the great things my kids are doing. i have so much more time to keep track of them now that i'm not working but i allow dumb things to keep me from doing the FUN parts of life. . .i'm going to try to make this journal happen more often...i love reading people's blogs....why not share our life too!*
Since I last wrote seriously which I guess was the beach post....so much has happened in our neck of the woods. I was laid off at WPSD. I had been working there as a Middle School Counselor for five years and really "loving" my job a lot. I really loved the kids a lot and the teachers so much. My supervisor was really terrific. He was supportive and really kind. I enjoyed the majority of my job but there were definitely a lot of things that were, like any job, extremely grating. In spite of those things, I was devastated to be laid off. It didn't come as a huge surprise for many reasons but the pain of the termination of my job was excruciating. I don't think I recovered from the shock of it until the next school year began. However, I found myself in the new position that I had always desired to be at home with Max and Talia.
Max was beginning Kindergarten and Talia was two. It was difficult figuring out what to do with my time. What was I supposed to do with my days? I had always worked. I wasn't used to being home all day. I am not a domestic person. So I through myself into the kids. I was helping out at Max's school. I was trying to make adult play dates. Kid play dates. Anything to fill my time. I ran into so many walls. All the time I had spent building my career everyone who had been staying home was building their playgroups and friendships....there was no room for a new/old mom. It was so isolating. I felt so alone. I joined Bible Studies, book clubs, anything to find my fit. I was volunteering trying to do anything....it was really difficult. I didn't have any friends that were at home during the day. Everyone was carrying on with their lives.
Max was doing half day Kindergarten so we did so many trips after school. We would visit museums, playgrounds, parks, and our pool. We did so many crafts and library trips. It was a great year for the three of us for learning and growing closer together but I really missed adult interaction. Chris would come home from work and call me his puppy. He said I would jump on him and talk to him non-stop for hours on end until he was exhausted. He is an introvert so I'm sure he was ready to pass out when he walked through the door and my hyper activity was the last thing he needed. =/
When the Spring finally came, I had gotten us into a decent schedule and felt more developed. I had made some friendships at Max's school with some mom's in his class and then became more connected. By the summer we all were grounded and my security and identity were definitely back on track. I had lost all sense of myself with that loss and allowed it to dent my confidence.
During the Summer we were crazy. My sister had a huge surgery on her brain tumor which was a huge success. Then we went on a life changing camping family retreat where my family was able to serve and minister to other families. Max went to overnight camp for the first time. Max joined the swim team and earned the MVP. He also plays soccer and tennis. Talia just started dance class and she totally loves it. We are constantly so mesmerized by the hilarious stuff they are saying. Max is so smart. He's reading so well and he loves doing math work. He's fascinated by lightening and wants to learn how to harness it for electricity. Talia is so hilarious. I was talking to her about learning to fingerknit and she said "will it make my fingers bleed?" Small snippet of my daily life.
I have no hard feelings (any more) towards WPSD. What a huge favor they did for me...they gave me my life to enjoy. Pure joy.