It was number twelve on his Christmas list. It was the first thing he told Santa Claus. Shortly after making his annual wish on the remains of this Thanksgiving’s turkey carcass, he entered into negotiations with the Elf on the Shelf. Wishing wells, shooting stars, the occasional stray eyelash. Whatever would help the cause. My son was determined to have his wish: a brother.
When we told Chris that the adoption agency had matched us with a child — someone who, if all things fell into place, might very possibly be his new brother in a few weeks or months — he stopped eating his dinner, calmly stood up and then executed a rather impressive triple somersault expertly sticking the landing before effortlessly melting into a perfectly-posed standing bow. Not really. But he did smile a huge smile the length of his face, announcing that he had never been happier while simultaneously shrieking with delight.
So you can imagine our surprise when, several moments later, he burst into tears. On a normal day Chris is a very messy crier, but these were sloppier more hysterical tears. They were Oscar-winning tears. Todd and I just looked at each other. We expressed our concern, but Chris assured us he was okay, telling us he “just needed to be alone for a few minutes”. At first I thought he was simply trying to get out of finishing his dinner, but then I remembered that Chris has a lot feelings.
He went up to his room. To be alone. Because he has a lot of feelings.
Like any good stage mother not wanting to miss out on a moment of the drama, I counted to almost sixty before rushing upstairs to get the scoop. Like a good parent I respected his need for privacy and allowed him a few minutes to compose himself before going up to check on him. I found him perched on the ladder of his loft bed — sobbing uncontrollably.
Me: What’s wrong?
Chris: (hysterically, through tears) I’m just so happy.
Me: But you’re crying.
Chris: I know.
Me: Are you okay?
Chris: (more hysterics and more tears, but smiling) This is the happiest day of my life.
We have of course explained to him that this new brother is not a done deal. There is a second family being considered. There are unknown factors and forces beyond our control at work. It’s out of our hands, kid. He says that he understands and he pretends to listen, but if we are not chosen, if he doesn’t get his brother, he will be devastated. As devastated as Todd and I. But we’re adults. He’s just a kid. With a lot of feelings.