The Notebook

Kim Bongiorno essays

Share Mamalode Share Mamalode

My kids and I took on the project of cleaning my 8-year-old son’s bedroom.

You’d think it’d be a frustrating time of whining and dragging feet, but they both threw themselves into organizing, cleaning, and sorting while I assembled a new bookcase.

When I was done and the bookcase was in place, their laughing bounced off the walls as I slid the piles (and piles) of books, magazines, and notebooks onto shelves.

While flipping through a Mr. Happy notebook to see if it had any blank pages left, I found funny little doodles of Spongebob, Skylanders, and then this:

Yes, it was clearly drawn a long time ago, before he had the skills to make a more accurate self-portrait as he can now, but it still took my breath away.

He’s such a light, joyful, laugh-out-loud kind of kid that seeing this sketch of sadness was like a punch in the gut.

Why wasn’t I there for him when he felt that way?

My son can be quiet when he’s troubled, so I have no doubt this was an expression of how he was feeling one day. I picture him littler, laying in his bed, doodling himself with a tear in his eye because he wasn’t sure how to express himself or didn’t feel like he could come out to find one of us to make him feel better.

I was probably hanging out in the living room with my husband, or laughing at the movies with my friends, or possibly lost in a wonderful book in my own bed down the hall when he drew this. Someone was available to him to comfort him—I’m sure of it.

But I guess that’s what’s harder for me. Knowing that he could have come to one of us, but he didn’t.

Or maybe that’s a good thing, that he faced that sad night on his own?

I know I can’t always be there for him, and the rational side of my brain wants him to be able to handle these emotions. Getting through a long, sad night in your own head, working through the feelings by sketching in a notebook and swimming through your own mind is healthy. It’s the way we become more resilient.

It’s the Mom Side of my brain that has a hard time listening to that reasoning.

Stupid, stupid reasonable reasoning.

My daughter called out, “Mama, whatchoo looking at?” She pulled me back into the Now, so I closed up the notebook, slid it onto a shelf with the others and said, “Just seeing if there are any blank pages left for your brother to fill in.”

You know. Just in case.

You can find more pieces from Kim by clicking here!

About the Author

Kim Bongiorno

Kim Bongiorno is a writer of humor, fiction and memoir. Her blog is , her books are listed on , and she is always available on .

Share Mamalode Share Mamalode
Facebook Comments