A few days ago while driving in the car with the children I happened to mention that it was almost time to take down the Christmas tree. Evan immediately panicked and started to sob. He wanted to know why? Why can't we just keep it? I went over all the reasons: it's a real tree and it's starting to dry out; Christmas is over/it's Epiphany now and soon it will be Lent; if we left the tree up all year long it would cease to be special and we wouldn't get to look forward to decorating it again next season; etc. He listend and seemed to process the logic but the sadness remained.
Then last night at dinner as we were going over the family calendar for the next few days and he figured out that his dad would be leaving town and I would be shuttling his brother back and forth to a chess tournament, he had another melt down. Both of these things--Dad going on short overnight trips and Mom chauffeuring older siblings--are common occurences. I explained that I was not leaving town but would just have to make some short trips to drop off and pick up his brother and that he could even ride along if he wanted (usually he is content to stay home). That seemed to help but he still cried excessively over his father having to leave town, exclaiming "I'll miss you so much!"
Why the unusually emotional reactions to these things that he has experienced before? As I think about it, it makes abundant sense. With the death of his grandfather and his grandmother, this child has sustained heavy doses of loss and change this year and has reached the limit of his tolerance for both. It's kind of like a stressed out mother at the end of her wits for the day. One more broken dish, one more spill, one more argument between siblings is just one too many. Right now Evan is just needing life to stay the same.
I wish I could provide that for him, but I can't. Such is a parent's regret. :-(
I wonder if Evan's intense embracing of the concept of commandments these days is at all related to his fear of change? Laws don't change, do they?