(I will start this post off with a disclaimer to Pauline...get your hanky out)
Travis is my tenderhearted boy. He has always been so compassionate. When he, Riley and I were at Duke, and the Child Life specialist informed me of the new visitation policy, which meant Travis would not be allowed to visit Riley in the hospital, I remember letting out a big breath. I knew this would be hard on him. She explained it to me, somewhat quietly, and covertly, letting one of the many papers she gave me that day do the real talking, so as not to upset him then. Travis never said a word about it, so I have just been waiting until the right time (not that there really IS a right time) to break the news to him.
Turns out I didn't have to.
Tonight, after going to meet his new teacher, and see his new classroom, we came home and waited on a frozen pizza to cook. Just about time that it was ready, Travis was sitting in his seat and looked at me with this pitiful sad face, and I knew something was wrong. Before I could ask, he said "Mommy, why can't I visit Riley when he's in the hospital?". My first reaction was "who told you?!", and he told me he heard the lady at Duke say it. He is the type that will hear something, and ponder it for a bit, before asking a question out loud about what he has heard. Apparently this situation was no different. My poor boy had been pondering not being able to visit Riley for over a week.
I tried to put on a smiling face, and explain to him the reasons (the H1N1 "swine" flu virus), and how very important it was that no one brought any germs or viruses to the very sick children and babies on that floor.He is old enough to understand these reasons, but not old enough to not be heartbroken over not being able to visit his sick baby brother that he loves SO much.
I tried to make it sound like he was going to be too busy with school and staying with Mema and Granddaddy and friends, and that he was going to have all sorts of fun. And I told him his daddy will be home that weekend afterwards.
The entire conversation, he fought back tears and I was reminded of being up at Duke the first week Riley was up there. It was the night before Riley's first surgery, and I called my mom's house to talk to Travis, like we did every evening. He was missing us bad, and sounded like he was near tears then, and I begged him to please be a brave boy, that Riley was very sick and needed us, but that I loved him, and could he please be a brave and strong boy for me. I knew I couldn't handle it if he cried. And ever my obedient one, he fought back those tears, and if he EVER cried about it, it wasn't where I knew.
Tonight, once again, he fought back those same tears and was my brave and strong boy. We have asked him over and over as a 6/7 year old to be braver and stronger than we, at over 30 years old are capable of. And he has met the challenge everytime.
He makes me more and more proud of him EVERY day. I sure hope he knows that.