The other day when putting my boy to bed, I asked him to stop working on a puzzle so we could go upstairs and put his jammies on. He objected a bit, as he does every night. But I reassured him he can finish tomorrow.
Up the stairs we went. We finished out nightime routine of washing up, brushing teeth, putting on jammies and reading two books. As we were moving on to the final step before turning on music and going to sleep, which is getting a small cup of water, I turned around. He was in tears. Sudden. Abrupt. Makes your heart hurt, tears.
I asked him what was wrong. He couldn't answer. Between the hyperventilating, all he could say was, "Nap." Nap is his description for "I'm sad and need a break." So I took him back to his room and hugged him as tight as I could. He was sad about something. I couldn't figure it out.
When he settled down a bit, I asked him again why he was sad.
I know. Is it school? Is it friends? Is it Mommy and Daddy?
"No. Take a nap."
Mike came in to see what was up.
"Jonathan, does your belly hurt? Does your head hurt?"
Jonathan pointed to his head as the area that was causing him the discomfort.
But this cry was not one of pain. It was one of being sad. He would stop crying, and then start again a few minutes later.
Jonathan wanted me to write him a book. He dictated it to me. It was called "Jonathan is Sad."
It didn't provide much info, except "I crying. I take a nap. Mommy does breathing. We will do yoga tomorrow. The end."
So I tried again after about a half hour of on and off crying.
"Buddy, what hurts?"
He pointed to his head. Something in his head hurt.
Could it be his brain? Like something was left un-done?
"Buddy, do you want to go downstairs and finish your puzzle?"
We went downstairs and he finished the puzzle. He looked at his finished piece, smiled and said, "OK. Now we have water and go to bed."
His head hurt, because something was left undone.
And it broke my heart.
Little things, like an unfinished puzzle, can weigh so heavy on him.
Sometimes we need to slow down; listen to hear what he is trying to tell us.