As you know, I looked after Everett on my own for five days a few weeks back. I had a few concerns going in, but one of my biggest fears was my emotional state. The day before Emily was set to leave, we were rocked by the surprise passing of our beloved family cat, Crosby. He was a lap buddy during most of the columns I wrote here and was always ready for a few pets so that I could relieve some stress. His passing hit me really hard, and I wasn’t confident that I’d be doing very well with the absence of my wife while I mourned my cat.
I forgot about the secret weapon Emily left behind. I forgot that in my house there was a little bundle of joy that could erase the pain and fill me up with happiness. For five days, I would be spending lots of time with a chubby little cherub. I quickly learned that I could never get too sad when I was in the company of my son, Everett.
To be fair, my other “son” Summit is really good at cheering me up too. He was a solid support when I lost my grandma a year ago, and he comes to my rescue whenever I cry. A Summit hug is a very magical experience that can make you instantly happy. But this isn’t a “pet parent” column, and so I want to talk about the magic that my son Everett offered up during a time that I was pretty sad and trying to cope without the support of my lovely wife.
You can’t stay sad for very long when you’re holding a bundle of cuteness that stares right into your eyes and gives you the kind of smile that makes you think you can jump over skyscrapers. Everett was not stingy with that smile over the five days I was looking after him alone. He seemed to sense that this smile was what made my day wonderful, and that is was exactly what I needed to see to get through each day. He didn’t just smile, but he unleashed the most intoxicating laugh. He told me countless stories, and even though I may not have understood them, I absolutely loved them.
We played. We played a lot. There is nothing that ushers in more happiness than playing with your happy and energetic child. Everett may not be moving around or grabbing at toys, but he still understands the magic of play. Everett has started to really enjoy “tummy time”, and he has turned into the master of it too. We usually did “tummy time” twice a day, and every time he’d laugh and talk during the experience while lifting up his head and shoulders way above the ground. He also started to explore all the dangling toys on his play mat, and it was quite the uplifting experience seeing Everett talk and interact with his stuffed friends.
There was one type of special play that really lifted my spirits and my son seemed to cherish just as much. I would hold Everett into a standing position, and he would start to stomp his feet or try to jump into the air. I would hold him up in front of a mirror and he would wildly stomp his feet as if he was a ferocious giant crushing a small village. Everett would let out a magnificent laugh and have a huge smile light up across his face as he watched himself in the mirror do his “giant stomp.” Once we played that game enough, I would turn on some music and Everett would demonstrate his many dance moves. His favourite was the “go into a squat and then jump up” move, which will be a huge hit soon in all the dance clubs. This form of play was the best bonding time with my son as it lifted my spirits and I know he was having the time of his life.
Obviously, a sad person can’t just run out and get themselves a baby. It isn’t the coping mechanism that will or can work for everyone. My son was the medicine to cure my broken heart. I still miss my cat. The house still feels a little emptier without him. My son made the days after Crosby’s death so much more wonderful than I ever thought possible. Everett was my cute little cherub who led me to a much happier world.