Call me crazy, but every time I wash the duvet cover for our bed, I end up crying as I'm putting it back on our comforter. As I turn the cover inside-out and lay it across our bed, then tie the four corners to the corners of our comforter, I wonder who will make sure Quinn knows how to do this if something happens to me.
Finally, last week, I called Chris into our room while I was in the middle of the bed-making process. "Like this," I said, and I showed him how you turn the whole thing right-side-out once the corners are tied so that the comforter is evenly inside the duvet. "Oh, that makes sense," he said.
And as my mother-in-law was helping me put new sheets on the bed, I asked her--through my tears--if she would show Quinn how to do her perfect hospital corners someday. "Of course I'll show him," she said, "but nothing's going to happen to you."
I'm not really sure Chris cares what our bed linens look like, but it was important for me that I passed along this knowledge. It's important for me to know that Quinn will learn certain things if I'm not around to teach him, even though I plan on being around to teach him. I mean, it's certainly not the end of the world if he doesn't know how to put a down comforter inside a duvet, and what kid really makes their bed anyway?
I asked my therapist about this.
"To you, making the bed represents normalcy," she explained. "And you want normalcy for your son."
Well, of course I do. Every good parent wants that for their children. I want Quinn to hold on to his innocence, his exuberance, his childhood for as long as possible. I want him to feel safe. I want him to know--as all kids should--that I love him unconditionally and immensely, that I will always be here for him.
As a wonderful friend and fellow cancer survivor (and mom) said to me awhile ago, "I've tried really hard to find a balance of believing, with everything in my being, that I will live to see [my daughter] grow into a woman. And at the same time, find total peace with the idea that I might not be here, and that she is going to be okay. She is surrounded by love, my love, and mountains of love from the other people around her. It's so hard."
She sent me the link to this children's book that I couldn't even get through the first time I tried reading it. I was sobbing on the couch next to Chris, who assumed I was reading something cancer-related and told me, "Enough with that crap." I showed him it wasn't crap, so then he just went back to believing I'm a big cry-baby. (All of us Akre's are; it's hereditary.)
Now, we're in the process of picking out hardware for Quinn's bathroom in the new house, finalizing paint colors, and packing up our belongings to move. We are lucky to have family who will spend all day with us sorting through carpet options and ceiling fan choices, who will coordinate with our contractor and help us pack, who will make sure my son gets swimming lessons and money for college and--eventually--a lesson on how to neatly make his bed.
With all of this going on, I'm finding that balance my friend spoke of--that belief that I will be here to watch Quinn learn to swim in our new pool and ride his bike in the neighborhood cul-de-sac, that Chris and I will reconnect in front of our new fireplace, and the peace of knowing that both of my boys will be okay no matter what.