What is this? Is that it? Is that THE end? Is this even supposed to be a kids’ movie? C’mon, Snowman comes back to life…surely…right? C’mon! (Internally shouting at the screen: ‘Get up, please!’).
HE. IS. NOT. GETTING. UP.
(Credits appear on screen).
Wow. That is actually it.
Oh-oh. Oh dear (noticing my kid’s shock on his face). Here we go….
‘I know, that was sad (dammit, that really WAS sad). I don’t know where Snowman went. He melted…(my boy stars crying). ‘Snowman back’, he says. ‘Hmm, I don’t know if he’ll come back. It doesn’t look like it’ (I start crying. Actually, I cry my eyes out).
‘Snowman gone, Snowman, back’ he sobs.
I cry, he cries, we both cry.
And to be honest, it was beautiful. I did think at one point, just lie to your poor kid, tell him the stupid Snowman will come back later, he’s just gone for a poo under the snow (because why not) or whatever. Issue solved. Just do it! Yet, a stronger feeling inside me invited me not to do that. It was scary (who enjoys seeing their kids in distress? A distress I could have prevented by watching that Mikey Mouse flick instead!). But I’m grateful I stayed true to what was real, to the truth, to the sadness we both felt.
I am grateful now of course, but for a while I felt tempted to hide the movie as each time my son spotted it, he started crying ‘Snowman gone, Snowman gone’. For a few weeks he would wake up from his sleep crying and pointing at the ceiling saying, ‘Snowman gone, Snowman gone’. And lo and behold the day I randomly started humming the tune! Inconsolable tears. No, I’m not kidding.
I stayed true to that feeling inside me though, and as time went by, my boy cried less and became more able to talk about it. I was then able to explain that maybe Snowman would come back next year, and that sometimes we see people we love only for short periods of time, like Abu (granny) who lives all the way in Mexico. I was able to also explain that sometimes some people never come back (…and I wanted to shoot myself as I was saying that…), to which he unsurprisingly asked: ‘Mama?’
I did actually went on to explain that one day I was going to die and that like the Snowman I was going to be gone but somehow always stay in his heart. He was ok with that, maybe because he had no clue what that meant, maybe because he was bored with the conversation, or maybe because it was true and he actually understood. Who knows.
Anyway. This whole experience was so unexpectedly enriching in so many levels mainly because I was able to allow it to happen. I’ve realized since then that the more I say ‘yes’ to the ‘unpleasant’ feelings (we all have our own pesky ones), the more those feelings become less unpleasant. It’s weirdly amazing.
I’m grateful I opened up in tears with my son (even though I was insecure as hell… ‘doesn’t my son need me to be strong?’, ‘I’m being so ridiculous right now’, ‘how old am I really?’). It was without a doubt uncomfortable, but the gift I got from it was huge: being less afraid and uncomfortable about opening up to whatever emotion pays me a visit. My son was totally ok expressing himself vividly; it was me and the web of spiraling thoughts in my head which were trying to interfere with what was there – true, present, raw, real, beautiful.
Here he is, my son (and his dad) flying with the Snowman. My boy can play that game for days now.