There is a theory that says a parent should teach a child: you are so important, unique, and irreplaceable, that our family would fall apart without you. Every person in our family is invaluable, and we need all of us so we can be who we are. Otherwise, we would fall to pieces.
I see the beauty in it. And there’s so much truth in it. And a child who is raised in a family who needs him will likely grow to become an adult in a society that needs him. He will contribute to meet the need, knowing the place that is his belongs solely to him.
But I wonder if those words are best utilized in a family that has not fractured and healed.
The boys and I are a very different us than we were with Robb. But not totally different. There’s much of him in us; there is much of us in him. We are a new three.
If I tell my children that we would crumble without them, it would only incite fear: fear of losing another one of us, fear of falling to pieces since we’ve lost one of our four.
I think I’ll tweak the theory a bit.
In our family, each person is so very loved and important and part of our puzzle, and we would never want to do a single day without them. But we don’t hold each other together. We choose to create a culture that includes all of us – and the ones we love – in a beautiful give and take, push and pull, lean and catch.
We can each stand on our own, and without one of us, we would somehow heal and learn to stand again.
But we don’t want to need to try.