Um, Mom? Can you spray the bear?

A simple request from a newly christened 8 yr old boy.  Can I spray the bear.  Maybe I should explain. 

Early this week, he had a visit.  Yep, one of those…a birth parent visit.  I hate them.  Really, I do.  I admit it.  I try not to; I try to put on the brave face, and the encouraging words, and send him on his way knowing he’s not doing a thing wrong.  But when he returns with “stuff”…I just loose it.  This time, it was a teddy bear, a tent for the bear, another old bear, and bedding accessories in a theme more suited to a 4 or 5 yr old than an 8 yr old.  Oh, and lest I forget, the early Easter basket.

The big problem I have with this stuff is that most of it stinks.  I mean really stinks.  We don’t smoke, they do.  So all this stuff just really smells bad.  Enough to make me gag.  And so, in my very unpleasant manner I take the stinky stuff from him as he excitedly tells me of all the wonderful presents he has just received and I promptly put them as far away as I can.  He is disappointed, I am disgusted and the whole thing just gets tangled in a mess.

I’m supposed to be the grown up…the normal one.  The one who knows how to deal with adversity, the one who is stable.  But in times like these, I guess I respond as the spoiled child.  I don’t want him to come home with gifts.  I just want him to come home.  I want him to never to want to go for a visit again.  I want him to come home and say “can you just get rid of this stuff for me?  I really don’t want it.”  But that’s not likely to happen.

He’s 8.  He’s torn between two families.  It’s not fair for me to put this on him.  I know that.  And so, last night after we had a talk about some other things that were bothering him, I kissed him on his head and said good night.  As I left his room, he said, “Um, Mom?  Can you spray the bear?”  I knew what he meant.  He was asking me to spray the bear with Febreeze so that it would become tolerable to me and the rest of the house…so that the bear could now become something he could play with, hug, snuggle and enjoy.

This morning, I pulled out the Febreeze and sprayed the bear, and the tent, and the other bear.  The bedding has been washed.  I’m trying.

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