Saturday, February 16, 2008

Breaking The News

Jackson is a very sensitive person.
Yes, I know, like his mother!
He is moved emotionally by things that happen within his circle of life.

Yesterday while out running errands, I had promised the boys we'd stop into PETLAND to look at the animals. Because this is something we enjoy doing, and not for reasons of pet purchasing.
It's like going to the zoo, well, not really, but it's a great "tool" to use when you're in Old Navy and needing to focus on sizes and searching you can turn to your children and express, "Boys, behave and we'll go look at the mice and puppies..."
It's nice to have tools sometimes. I don't care whether it's right or wrong, but as a mom, it's nice to have those extra tools for parental assistance.

We leave the clothing store and head towards Petland. Getting closer to their store front windows you can tell things aren't as packed as usual in there. Even the posters and lettering are distinctively less then usual. Then I see the yellow piece of paper,
..."PETLAND (NAME OF TOWN) LOCATION CLOSING AFTER 4 YEARS. ALL SALES FINAL."

Uh-oh.
We walk inside the store and all the puppy bins are empy, their trays turned upright. The kittens are gone, the mice nonexistant, the fish gone with the exception of maybe two or three goldfish. Even the parakeets are already gone. All there remained were 2 goldfish and 2 white Parrots.

We walked around the store very briefly, the clerks seemed busy cleaning up and removing shelves, taking down tanks, and preparing for the close on the 22nd of February, they seemed annoyed that there were customers still walking the empty aisles in search of that 40% off sale item.

Jackson was concerned with the animals, "what happened to all of them?"
The store clerk said that they were all sold to homes, so that's a good thing, right?
Right.

As Long as the animals were really sold into homes, I'm happy about that, and not sent to animal shelters. But with money as a common drive or motive, I'm sure PETLAND wouldn't want to lose money, and if anything, shipped the animals to other PETLAND stores.
Thinking out loud, what does happen to the animals when Petstores close down?

We leave the store and head towards the PARTY STORE for wrapping paper for my nephew's birthday gift. You get these feelings as a mom, and I had a zolt of a feeling flash through me almost as soon as we turned the corner to head towards PARTY CITY. I happen to glance down over to my left, and there is Jackson in a rather odd slump. He had his shoulders hunched, his body is shaking, and he has silent tears rolling down his face. I stop in the chill of the February NONwarmth, and embrace his body, meanwhile Sullivan is busy kvetching that "They took all the animals away from me!" Jackson begins to sob openly, his voice found, and he is crushed that the store he loved is going going, gone.

As adults, you and I both know about change. Change is difficult. Some of us complain about change and go with the flow, but others have a much harder time keeping up with the currents of change. They become frozen to the past, never appreciating any bit of good about the present.

Regardless of those people that are dubbed the nonchangers, seeing your child feel for a store, feel for the animals, feeling anything, would tug at any mothers heart strings. Because it's up to us, the parents, to teach them about change. To find the good in the change. Even if it's hard to.

"Maybe this store is closing because they plan on growing PETLAND elsewhere in a much bigger store."
"Maybe the store had to close because-"
Who am I kidding, the store closed because it wasn't making enough flow to keep up with the currents of our town, the community, our economy, yadah yadah.

After the tears had settled down, he wanted to talk about it. On the drive to pick up Bigdoggdad from the train, otherwise known as BDD, Jackson needed to chat about it. Chat about why the store didn't make enough money? Why more people didn't buy things in the store? Why didn't the store change their prices? (I told you he's a wise little chap) Why didn't they put out stories about their pets so that people would come and buy them (see? He already gets marketing, too!)?The good news was that by him talking about it with me, the pain was still fresh, but it wasn't as raw as the tears were 20 minutes earlier. He had expressed his concern, he shared his feelings, and then was ready to talk about it in a few short minutes. I'm sure the mini M&M's that I guilted myself into buying for him as a sort of peace offering helped with the change chat too!

All was good until this morning....
You see, he was due to go to the Adler Planetarium with his cousins, aunt and uncle, and his grandparents too! My sister is eliminating the family birthday parties, being that her son is turning 7 next week, and instead opted to treat her son to a fun outing, and being that Jackson is as obsessed with his cousin Jeff as Jeff is with Jackson, my sister asked if Jackson could come with. This would be a surprise to Jeff. Jeff didn't know Jackson was going with them. This was my sisters way of doing something special for her son, instead of having an obnoxious kids party. Instead of the kid Party, and over grown family gatherings, they opted for a trip to the space museum on Lake Shore drive down in Chicago near the lake front. Again it would be my son, my sister and brother in law, their three children ages 7, 5 and almost 2, and Grandma and Grandpa B. Because naturally if you are lucky enough to have grandparents for your children, you include them in the festivities.

Jackson was so excited! He talked about it for the entire week. We went on the website and read up on the exhibits, researched the history of the planetarium, he talked about it every day. Last night before bed, he had his allowance out and ready to be packed into his clothes. He laid out his nice button up blue shirt last night, along with his ironed Khaki pants. He knew that he had to go to bed early because my sister and brother in law would be picking him up by 8:30am Saturday morning. Like a mature man studying wisely for his bar exams, he went to bed earlier then usual despite his excitement for the day ahead.

6:30 this morning, we see our Jackson, the one that sleeps in until about 9am, bound out of bed quietly, already dressed with this allowance already in the pocket of his crisp and dapper button up shirt. He bounds down the stairs with sleepy excitement in his eyes, you know, the kind of gunk glitter that you see in their eyes Christmas morning?
That kind of excitement.
He was ready to have breakfast, and couldn't stop talking about the BLACK HOLE movie that is being shown in one of the oversized 3d type theaters in the museum. Remember, Jackson wants to be an astronaut when he is older. He is fasinated with Space. He can talk with anyone about the black hole, about Pluto being a star, the proper way to say UR-IN-IS, and just about anything that has to do with space.

The phone rings at 6:45am. Now Bigdogg had gone to the grocery store for cream, bread and eggs, so I assumed he'd forgotten something, and decided to wake up the house by the traditional style of the old school ring tone from our home phone.

Nope, it wasn't him. It was my sister, she was calling to cancel.
OH DAMN IT!
Unfortunately her little one that will be 2 in march, became quite ill last night, and spent pretty much all of last night throwing up. Throwing up bile, not drinking fluids, both mom dad and little neph slept on the carpeted floor of their family room. Needless to say, she had to cancel, and I completely understood, but after yesterdays disappointment with Petland, and the actions of the morning, I knew breaking the news wasn't going to be good. I knew he'd be upset, but he'd equally feel bad about his nephew, because my 6 year old has this knack to relate himself to other people. He is able to see pain in others lives, and is empathetic. All in all, he would still be the usual 6 year old and break down in tears. I mean come on, look at how he was with the petstore closing? Now imagine how he'll be when he hears that his future has been cancelled for the day.
At 6:45am? Probably not something you'd like to start your saturday with, right?

I waited for Bigdogg to return from the store so we could go in as a team, and provide support for Jackson, as silly as that sounds. I didn't want to break the news to him without BDD, and no, it wasn't because I didn't want to "be the bad guy," more so because I needed BDD there to give me support because I feared that this set back would crush Jackson worse then the PETLAND STORE closing.

I pulled him, Jackson, up on my lap. He then pulls out his allowance and while showing it to BDD, proud that he had 'that much money' to spend, exclaimed that he "won't spend it all in the gift shop at the museum.."

WINDOW of OPPORTUNITY!!
.."speaking of the museum Jackson, Aunt BLANK called this morning,..." was how I started the conversation...

I told him.
I told him the truth, which is obviously an easy thing to do when it is something as minor as this. I told him that his little cousin is ill, that his aunt and uncle were up all night caring for him, that they would have to postpone the excursion for another time due to the little one catching some flu bug.

Yes Jackson cried.
Yes Jackson was upset.
But yes, he did recover.
He recovered when BDD uttered the magical words, "what can we do to make you feel better about this situation? If we could do anything to help you not be so sad, what would you want us to do...."

Jackson: "Go To Toys R Us and get a Lego.

Welcome To Crustybeef~
I have a feeling Jackson will learn to be okay with change.
As far as the Lego's go, that's still in discussion....
Don't slam me for considering it, I'm a good mom so SHUT IT!

35 comments:

Cheryl said...

I think you're so much more empathetic than most people, and your sons are growing up in the best household. You're very wise.

Are there other pet stores around? I think the Petco's and Petsmarts are taking over.

Have a great Saturday. I'm writing this while my 2 color clients are processing. I have 15 minutes, and only because I ran late putting in the first one's highlights. She has too much hair! I'll be playing catch-up the rest of the day, but then I'll have Border's. And I don't know what afterwards. The day looms large.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

CHERYL:
Can I meet you at Borders? I wish you were coloring my hair today! I actually made my appt yesterday for next saturday at ten. I'm thinking Blond again to prepare for light and Spring, and my sister in laws wedding! :)
There isn't any other petstores around that carry all the pets like PETLAND did. We have a Petsmart, but they don't have puppies or kitties. Maybe they will now!! :)and thank you for the wise comment, that was very sweet! You know how to make me feel warm and fuzzy don't you? :)

I hope your clients hair turns out alright! Happy saturday and enjoy your Border run! Any LODGE visits too?

Always,
Elizabeth

Mary said...

Legos can cure just about any hurt. No discussion, Mommy and Daddy. Jackson needs a Lego.

Tex said...

Heh...I can remember disappointments like that as a young one....and just learned to turn it to my advantage.....too bad that never worked with my parents. **DAMN IT!**
Hope you're doing okay in spite of "things" Will be at my P's today, drop me a line if yer gonna be in the hood!

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

One of the hardest things a parent can go through is seeing children learn about the realities of life. It doesn't really get any easier when they're older either because you just love then so much. Diane

CRUSTYBEEF said...

Mary: mission accomplished. Back from ToysRus with an inexpensive Lego, and a ball for the boys...a good outing...:) IF only us adults could be as easily pacified when change happens by a legos set, eh? :)

Tex: SHOOT! We were out early this am, and now back home, I've returned to my robe and still quite weak..funny story, I STILL haven't showered...since last week. YUCK! Needless to say I won't be seeing anyone today. How are your P's? Wish them well and send my hello's to them please!!btw, nice ****'s!

Diane: And yet something so minor like this has me running to Toys R us...when there are funerals being planned for the tragedy at NIU between a man and a gun he put into his hands to do harm...like my mom said, it puts everything else into perspective.
sigh..

I'll be sending you a snow storm in a few days..I think it'll be here by tomorrow, so you should receive it by wednesday at most! :)

Always,
Elizabeth

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CRUSTYBEEF said...

Soul: Thanks for the beer! Now here's a fancy lighter that my friend bought for me, a nonsmoker...you will love the flashing blue lights!

Jason: Don't quit your day job, your finger is a tad to trigger happy with the send button.

Always,
Elizabeth

Golden To Silver Val said...

Not much worse than seeing hurt and disappointment all over your child's face is there? I am so glad BDD joins in and helps soothe the little hurts; that's so important. I've found making a nice big batch of homemade cookies in which the children can participate, helps take away a lot of disappointments. Big hugs to all of you.

Kelly Jene said...

Crusty, love, I'd be right there with you picking out Lego's for the little guy. Ach, how my heart broke for him. He reminds me so much of my little Alex. At a pet store near here, Alex got terribly upset because the beta fish had to live in tiny little jars. He cried about how unfair it was. Such compassion and love of the world is rare in children these days. As for the m&m's, we ease our children's hearts as we can. Don't we buy a new pair of shoes or shirt when we're disappointed? It's a little joy to make the world a bit better of a place.

You're a good mama.
Jackson, you are one cool kid.

simonsays said...

Oh man, that SUCKS! I know that feeling, i remember it so well, having to tell them something sure to break their hearts, no matter how small...

He does need legos.

That's all there is to it.

You are a good mom - you don't have to defend yourself.

:)

Foster Communications said...

Oh I'm sorry you had to deliver that news. Could not have been easy. And your son sounds like such a lovely, soft hearted soul. :)

Portia said...

Oh my:( That is a rough one! He might be a little older and a little wiser than before, but you are still an awesome mother!

JYankee said...

hey a little lego...toys...they do all the helping sometimes...! dont sweat it..it doesnt make you a bad mom.

Cheryl said...

Woohoo did you get a lot of comments on this post!

How are you feeling today? Any more snow? I'm writing from Panera's this morning. What a life!

mosiacmind said...

Legos are great. Yes you are a good mom..reminds me of some of my nephews when they were little.

Gypsy said...

Hey Crusty, Your little Jackson sounds exactly like one of my daughters at his age. It is wonderful for others that he is so sensitive and thoughtful but he will always feel things badly and that is always hard for a mum to see. He sounds like a delightful young man and you are an awesome mum for not fobbing off his hurts and fears by making light of them. In his precious mind they are a big deal and you treated it as such. Good for you.

austere said...

Finance, marketing and negotiation skills too.. I can understand the hurt, but he'll be fine, Crusty.

I'd be upset too.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

Golden: I think if the one being disappointed was Sullivan, then cookies or any sort of "little cookie" -cupcake would suffice...I agree with you, having Bdd near helped me because I tend to overtalk the situation in hopes to make it better but meanwhile making it worse. IT turned out good, he was happy, and all is settled back in the home, until the next life lesson, right? Speaking of, I can't wait to see what your son does to your daughters neighbors. :) HEEhee. :)

Kelly: Funny, that conversation sounds familiar, the small bowls...it's great to have children that are so aware, but, the draw back, like Gypsy says, is they feel hurt so much more too. I know that feeling..it can rob them of their youthful innocence too...the yin and yang of emotions, right? You're a great mom too, just so you know!

Jaime: YOu sound like my best friends, telling me not to have to explain myself,..funny thing, you, like them, are so right, why do I have this incessent urge to always back up my motive, as if my motive isn't justified and I for some reason have to defend it to whomever. Hard to believe I was always so successful in sales, huh? Lego's for boys which can be costly, for us, we got lucky found a box for $10..win win situation. But too long in Toys R Us,...makes me cranky. :) HAHA

Fostie: HE is absolutely darling. Anyone that meets him can see how adorable he is. And he likes his quiet time too. He is quite the intellect, and I'm not just saying that, naturally, and without a doubt so far, the one that is the most sensitive as far as my three. Plus he's fun to talk to, he's my little man. why did he have to grow up so fast?

Portia; May I head on over and have him play traffic Jam? That looked like fun! You are another one that is an absolutely amazing mom working fulltime and caring for two beauties, I give you so much credit, because I don't think I could do it.

Jyankee: I know, I know, but as moms, it's so easy to carry guilt. We feel guilty over everything, or at least some of the time,...but, you are right, the lego's helped, the time has passed, the outing rescheduled and then smooth sailing. How are you feeling? I know that feeling to be sick on your child's birthday..


Cheryl: No thanks to Jason and his lovely pitch about making money...grrr Panera sounds great right now.

Mosiac: And you are a sweet sweet soul. I can always count on you to bring an LJ to my world. Thank you. :)

gypsy: you are soooooooooo accurate about how he'll feel more people's pain too. I have that blessing and it can be a good thing, but then again, I can actually pick up on discomfort and rudeness and hurt aching hearts, I wouldn't want him to carry that, but it is the personality he has been given, and I'm certain he'll use the gifts that he has for all the right things, just like your daughter does. I love the picture by the way! I love your arms, I know I've said that before, but you have beautiful arms!

austie: Would you care for a box of Lego's? Or is Tea okay? Disappointments are rough, but seeing it through children, even tougher, I can only be thankful though, and pray that he has "these types" of growths, could be much more painful with other types...

Always,
Elizabeth

ummmhello said...

Legos are a good balm for hurt. If it works for him, go for it!
What a wonderfully insightful chap. A round of applause to you for handling these situations SO WELL. It's a fine line we walk, trying to shield them from the pain of disappoinments but still wanting them to be able to learn from and handle them. Sounds to me like you've done a fabulous job.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

ummhello: Hello, Umm! I can only hope I handle the tougher situations as well as I do the minor ones..God on my side I hope hope hope, and worry all too often too! :)
I wish as a mom I could shield them but then how will they grow up to be managing capable adults if I keep them under my wing the entire time, right? :)

Thanks for coming over!
Always,
Elizabeth

jAMiE said...

You are a lovely mother and i'm sure your son will be just fine, with our without the Lego. Sad that he cried though...sounds like a lovely lad.