Diaper or Underwear?

Yes, this is my third post today. Apparently, I have a lot to say.

For those who have been reading for a while, you may think this is yet another post about my potty training woes or a new strategy to get Big One to poop in the potty. But it's not. Not really, anyway.

This summer, in the midst of our hardcore potty training with Big One, he was so very proud of himself for wearing underwear. One day, Hubs was working on some sort of home improvement project in the driveway when our neighbor, Tom, stopped by to chat. Big One is always up for a visit from a neighbor. His two favorites are Tom and Jerry. Yes, those are their real names. They aren't a couple, in case you're wondering.

When Big One saw Tom outside talking to Daddy, he ran out the front door to greet him. He proudly announced that he was wearing underwear. Without missing a beat he yells, "Hey, Tom! Are you wearing a diaper or underwear?"

It was so funny, although Hubs was embarrassed. Tom didn't mind though. He laughed it off and started joking back with Big One.

That was the last time I really saw Tom. Sure, I saw him in his driveway or mowing the lawn. But that was the last real interaction we had.

We found out tonight that Tom passed away. Two weeks ago. Stomach cancer. We didn't even know he was sick. And now he's gone. And we're very sad, even though we didn't know him beyond exchanging small talk in the driveway.

His son lived with him. Now his son is alone. Old enough to take care of himself. But alone.

I'm sad for his son. I'm sad that we didn't know of Tom's sickness. I would have done more. Baked him cookies. Made casseroles to stock the freezer. Showed him that we cared. I'm sad that we found out two weeks after the fact. We would have gone to the funeral.

I'll miss seeing him outside in the summer. I'll miss Big One yelling, "Hey! There's Tom! Can we go say hi?" I wish I would have let Big One go say hi to him more often. I usually brushed it off, telling him Tom was probably busy. And now, Big One can't go say hi. I wonder if Big One will notice. Will he ask about Tom? Will he even notice that he's not around? Should we tell him?

We have invited Tom's son to our house for Christmas Eve. I hope he joins us. I've never had a conversation with him. But no one should be alone on Christmas Eve. Especially after such a loss.


Christy said...

Oh that is so compassionate of you to invite his son for Christmas Eve...I hope he joins your family. I must admit, my jaw dropped open half-way through your post - totally took me by surprise. I don't know what to say to your son if he asks...hopefully other moms with more experience will have advice for you!

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

Be truthful with Big One. Tell him God needed Tom to be with Him...(or what you feel is right) I think he should know--kids understand more than we think. And it's not too late to make those casseroles and cookies!

Carter Family said...

Isn't it ironic we mentally tell ourselves that our most wonderful offspring could be "bothering" others with their small acts of kindness. In truth our children have it right - it's the small things that count. Big One and Tom's exchange over diapers of underwear provided Tom with a smile.

Jolene said...

Wow, this is so sad. I hope his son does join you for Christmas. Maybe Big One will make a new friend in Tom's son.