Bobby’s dead

Funny thing, the way certain events filter themselves through the mind of a certain six-year.

It was a big day for the J-man. There was a field trip to the symphony. That event alone informs much of how the rest of the day turned. Jonah does amazingly well on trips. He gets terribly excited, but they take a toll. We’ve been on the edge of meltdown since school let out.

Walking home, we happened upon J’s new friend L. She and her mom (who will be J’s elementary teacher next year) and sisters were also walking home. The two clasped hands and off they went—running far ahead, carefully looking both ways (I trust L far more than J on this front) before crossing several streets. Of course we had to walk to L’s house before we headed for ours. Of course Jonah had to go inside to see L’s “horsey room.” How could it be otherwise? I ended up having to drag both he and G out of the house, practically kicking and screaming.

Onward home. J began obsessing about the girls (across the street). Would they be home? Was their van in the driveway? Could they play? Were they home? “I think their van must be in the garage,” he postulated. “Can I play with them? I’m sure they’re home. Can I play with them?” There are days when he just won’t/can’t stop himself. He only thinks about seeing them. He imagines hearing them from inside the house: “Did you hear that? I think it’s the girls! I think they want to play with me!” Today was one of those days. He hung on the gate, watching their house. He perched himself on a rock in our driveway and watched their driveway with doleful eyes.

Meanwhile, G attempted escaping over the back wall in our yard. Somehow he managed to move three very large rocks off the wall without crushing his feet (though later he did a good job of that while carrying/dropping a wooden box full of tools on his bare toes). Shortly after, Jonah tried to scale the wooden slats that wrap around the rest of the yard. Much to everyone’s surprise, a splinter lodged itself in his palm. A minor procedure with needle and tweezers over the kitchen sink ensued.

Merciful Lord, I kept muttering under my breath. How will I survive them?

But all of this is just to say, Bobby’s dead. And we didn’t find this out until bedtime when an exhausted J was finally still enough, long enough, to process what his brain had been bombarded with in the course of the day. I’m starting to realize that it must, some days, feel like bombardment to him—all of the activity and emotions and people and schoolwork he works so hard to attend to. No wonder his body goes berserk.

Bobby is the classroom rabbit. He died Sunday, it seems, at the home of one of the classroom aides. In her words (according to Jonah), Bobby died of being old and tired. Another aide went so far as to tell the children that “Bobby is looking down and watching you from heaven.” Seriously? He’s a rabbit. Why not use this opportunity to talk to the children about death instead of pumping them with useless cliches? Talking about a rabbit dying is a whole hell of a lot easier than broaching the topic for the first time when a grandparent or friend or, God forbid, parent dies. But I digress.

Bobby’s dead, and tonight, seemingly out-of-the-blue, it’s breaking J’s heart. I don’t think J and B were particularly close, but it doesn’t matter when you’re a boy of drama and you’ll use whatever you’ve got to keep either mom or dad in the room a little longer so you don’t have to go to sleep alone.

Don’t get me wrong: those were real tears J was crying. But he has this knack of getting himself all worked up (he learned from the master—or should I say mistress?—of the house).

He creeps to the door. Opens it ever-so-slowly.

“Mom? I can’t sleep. Bobby’s dead.”

I tuck him in and lay down to chat.

“I’m so sad. I keep thinking about Bobby. I miss him. He’s dead. I can’t sleep because I keep thinking about Bobby. And he’s dead. Petting him made me happy. But he’s dead. And I can’t sleep because Bobby’s dead.”

This is when I learn that Bobby is looking down on us from heaven. Then some gibberish-y talk about a friend being serious and how J needs to be more serious, except J is funny, and he needs to be serious. I’m thinking maybe Jonah was acting silly when the aide was talking to them about Bobby and J got reprimanded by said friend.

It’s unfortunate that J’s teacher has been out sick for almost a week. It’s unfortunate for her, obviously, but also for the kids. I think she would have handled the situation beautifully. As it is, Bobby has made himself known to us in a way he never did when he was alive. Expressing emotions with words is hard for J, so hearing him say petting Bobby made him happy melted my mama heart a little.

Long live the memory of the tubby bunny Bobby, who took refuge behind the wall of cubbies when all of those wiggling, poking, stroking, and ear-pulling hands were just too much to bear. I feel for you B.

Verluisant, Etsy

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