You came to me with a broken heart - a hopeless reality of sibling hardship. You shared that you often don't want to come home after school because it's all just too much; the fighting, the disrespect, and all the noise. Your lip quivered and your face gave way to restricted tears. It was everything in me not to fall apart, but it wasn't my turn. My heart needed to be strong so that you trusted me with yours. I sat and listened; identified with you. I told you "being the oldest is very hard." That struck a chord in you. Tears fell harder, but still restricted.
I cant even tell you how proud I am of you. Your patience is beyond a normal 9 year old boy. You are screamed at, belittled, and shut down, minute by minute, by your sisters and brother - and sometimes by me and Dad, in effort to keep you from sharing too much, so not to make your siblings feel less smart. Its not fair. Majority of the time you handle yourself so well. But just like any human being, you can only handle so much, and then you break.
Tonight you told me the honest, harsh truth that you wish life were different; that you wish everyone would respect each other and be kind... and that you wish you didn't have to live here.
It's nothing I do not know, but hearing it is hard. Yet, Im thankful too, because no matter what you feel inside, positive or negative, I'm thankful you choose to share with me. Unfortunately I don't have all the answers on how to make it better, but I will do my best to figure it out with you.
You said, "I wish I was free to live." That's a big statement. It meant more than your words could communicate. I know what you meant, and I also did not have the words to confirm this. We prayed tonight. I asked God to fill your heart with hope. I shared that life as we know it will change, and get a bit better as siblings grow; that 4 and 2 years old are hard ages to reason with. There's a whole lot of crying and screaming that one day will turn into conversations.
You thanked me for listening and for talking with you. I forgot until that moment that that's all you needed from me - to be present and to listen to all you had to say. As a parent, I wanted to do more. I wanted to build you a separate room, where you would have the freedom to be yourself, and a place to go from all the negativity. Unfortunately, I cannot rescue you from this life. It has to run its course. Siblings do not go away and we have to find a way to make it good.
I asked what we could do to help you feel lighter, and to help you feel happy again. You asked if I would spend time with you, and maybe a friend or two. I asked if you wanted 3 friends. You smiled and asked, "this weekend?" I said "sure, we can make that happen."
A day with friends is in your near future.
I love you son. Life is real hard sometimes, no matter what your age, and no matter the situation.
I am always here for you. Thank you for trusting me.