I am a sentimental person. I think this is compounded by the fact that I have always feared loss. I place huge value on things as a way to hold on to the things that they represent.
It was pretty acute when I was younger. When I would lose a pet, I was devastated. If the situation was traumatic enough (We had to have a dog put down for biting my best friend) I would have hysterical sobbing fits years later. It was like it had just happened and I would feel crushed by sadness.
Obviously, this was not limited to pets. People were pretty big on my list, too.
Because there is such an age difference between me and my older three siblings, they were mainly moved out of the house when I was still pretty young. I missed them. I was lonely for them. I had an especially close relationship with my sister, Melly when I was small. I think I looked on her more as a mother figure and used to follow her around like a little duckling. She left to New York to nanny for a year when I was five.
I used to sit by my window at night when I was lonely for her and wonder if she was looking at the same moon I was looking at. She came home after a year, but moved out again soon after to go to college and marry. When we would visit her or my brother and his family out of state, I would cry hysterically when we had to leave them to come home. I didn’t handle it very well, I’m afraid. Luckily, my sister, Linny, stayed in the same state and that helped.
While the severity of these reactions have mellowed with age (Unless we’re talking about significant separation or loss of someone I love. THAT remains unchanged.) I am still sentimental when it comes to objects. I cling to letters, cards, memento’s, gifts, really any “Tangible” thing that is tied to a person or memory. I think that this is one reason I am a “Gift” person. It is love, feeling, memories and emotion wrapped up into an object. When those objects are lost or damaged I take it pretty hard.
So…What is the point of me spewing about all this sniveling and greeting card hording?
I have a parenting problem that I SHOULD understand and know how to deal with and I just don’t know what to do. We have a couch and love seat in our living room that we’ve had for about 4 years. The boys l0ve them. That is part of the problem. They have loved them to death. My mother in law is renovating her basement and offered her set to us so that we wouldn’t have to buy new furniture until we build our house.
Christopher had the biggest meltdown I have ever seen. Gut wrenching, horrible sadness. It went on ALL NIGHT. He wanted me to take photos of the couches and was absolutely crushed that he would “Never, ever see the good little couches again.”
He was absolutely inconsolable.
I have noticed this in the past. Remember last Halloween when I held a funeral in my pajamas for A BALLOOON? He is also very tied with “How long” he has owned an object. When he broke a red plastic ruler a few months ago he came unglued with sadness, “I’ve owned that since KINDERGARTEN, Mom! That’s over half my life!” He cried and cried and cried.
He does it with most of the objects, photos, and drawings that he has. He ability to remember everything is astounding to me. I feel really helpless on how to help him through these moments here, people. I want to comfort without going overboard or making it worse.
I told Christopher that he should think about how much fun he and his brother had on the couches and that should be his focus. I told him that we already had so many photos of the couches and that if he was still sad the next day we would look at some of them.That it was ok to be sad, but to try to focus on the good things “But, M-m-m-om! Then I would be forgetting our poor, old c-c-c-c-c-oooooooowwwwwccccchhhhh!!!! WWWWHHHHHAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!”
Finally after four hours of this, I told him kindly but firmly that he could not do this anymore and that he had to stop. I not only could.not.cope anymore, he was also crying so hard I was seriously afraid of him swallowing his own tongue or something.
I know that some of this is probably tied to him losing Matthew. He took it very hard. I also think that it has a lot to do with his personality.
Has anyone gone through this with their child? Ideas? Suggestions? Anything I can do? I just need to know how to help him through it because it about kills us both and it seems to be getting worse.