Q13: Life With Charley – Mr. Fix It

One of the best gifts we can get as parents is someone who “gets” our kid, someone who understands and appreciates them for who they are.  The Palmer’s friend Calvin was one of those people.

Fixing things wasn’t Calvin’s only talent. He took Charley on walks and sat patiently waiting for Charley to hook his seatbelt. 

“Go, Cow-vin,” Charley would command.

“My car doesn’t go unless all seat belts are fastened,” Cal would say, and then he’d cut the motor and just sit there quietly (sometimes several minutes—once he even took a nap), while waiting Charley out. As soon as he heard the click, the wheels started to roll. “That’s what I’m talking about,” he’d say, and Charley would laugh and say, “Cow-vin, you silly.” Pp. 174-175

Do you have someone in your life who naturally gravitated to your child, or can communicate with them on a level most people can’t?

When Calvin passed away, Charley’s parents weren’t sure whether or not to take him to the funeral.

We wrangled with the decision of taking Charley to Calvin’s funeral. 

“It will be too much for him to handle.”

“We can’t keep it from him.”

“He has the right to grieve.”

“One of us could drive him around town while the other attends the wake.”

“Calvin would understand if Charley isn’t there.”

“No, he needs to come and say goodbye to Calvin.”

“He needs closure.”

In the end, Charley attended the funeral.  Pp. 177-178

Has your son/daughter attended a funeral?  How did you explain death/dying?

Another issue discussed in this chapter is how our children communicate difficult feelings with behavior.

Brad and I often talk about that day at the restaurant, or what we call “The 4-1-1.” At first we thought Charley was just being a brat, but further consideration tells us we failed to connect the dots. How is it that we’d spent the previous two weeks mourning our best friend, and it never occurred to us that our son was grieving too? How could we not have heard him? I wanted to stop at the restaurant. Brad wanted to stop at the restaurant. Again, Charley didn’t get a vote. How could we have discounted his pleading not to go to the funeral home, and then on top of that, how could we have stopped to eat? We usually eat in restaurants when we are happy. Not when we are sad. Was he trying, in his broken way, to tell us he’d lost his appetite? Or, that he’d had enough of funeral homes and, worse yet, was he afraid someone else he loved might be there? Was it someone he loved as much as Calvin? And how could we be happy about that? We hadn’t told him otherwise.  What we should have done was to get a carryout and head straight home. Pp. 185-186

Have there been times when you’ve missed the clues or “failed to connect the dots?”  How would you describe the way you interpret behavior?  When did you learn to do it?

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