I just have to take time to honour a very special 5 year old. I have had the privilege of sharing 45 mins every week with him, for the last 18 months. By the age of 4 he had already experienced more trauma in his lifetime than I have in mine. I will spare the details, you can imagine.
I am about the same age his Mum would be if she were still alive, and I know that I am the first female adult who he has been able to build a secure attachment with. This in itself has been an honour and privilege (and yes a challenge while we were in process too 😉 )
It has been very clear to me for a while now that he was almost ready to end our work. However, as I agreed with my clinical supervisor, the best possible ending for him, would be if he could articulate wanting to stop for himself…he did. So for the last 5 weeks we have been counting down to our last session. I’ll be honest. As the penny dropped that what he meant by ‘not coming and being able to take my box home’ also meant he wasn’t going to see me anymore, he struggled. Wouldn’t you? Letting go of your connection with someone who has journeyed with you through some tough stuff, is tough for any of us – how much more so when you are 5.
But today was different. He knew exactly what was happening and he was ready. I helped manage the session with a picture list of all the things we had to do today, including ‘playing’ and ‘saying goodbye’ and he navigated us both through which order we needed to do things in. It all got done. And in one of his spontaneous playing times, he went to the sink, filled it with water and dumped all the transport toys in. This is nothing new. He has used the sink a lot.
But today was different. He got the soap, the sponge and set about washing them all, and putting them out to dry. After a while he asked me if I knew why he was doing it? He said it was to get them ready for next time. What he meant by that was the next time they are used…. by another child… in their special time. Not by him.
Today I am humbled and challenged by his generosity of spirit.
When I think back through all life has handed him so far – the psychological state he was in when we met… all the things we have reprocessed together… how hard the recent process of letting go of his ‘special time’ lifeline… and how he navigated it fully with his innate courage… that he was calm and collected and fully engaged with our ending, and wanting to bless other children by providing clean cars and trucks and aeroplanes to play with when they come …so it would help them feel happier too – I am utterly moved.
What a lesson for us all. To keep in our own process until we too, can let go and bless.
Well, little man. As you won’t be part of my week anymore… I let you go too – and bless you the best way I know how…
‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace.’
Numbers 6:24-26 NLT