Who was it who said that life doesn’t come with instructions and that children don’t come with a manual. I think that I’d like to kick them in the teeth. I should apologize now for being grumpy. I had planned on writing the story of how I knocked up the Shmata Queen and here I am talking about death and children.
It wasn’t intended. It wasn’t where I had planned to go but sometimes the blog takes you in directions other than your own choosing and this is one of those moments. So take a walk with me if you will and I’ll try to paint the picture.
Children have big ears. They listen to everything that is going on around them, but it is easy to forget. They may be playing quietly nearby or seem to be just out of earshot, but they are always listening. I learned a long time ago to try to be careful about what sort of discussion I had around them, but sometimes you get so caught up you forget. Or sometimes you think that the discussion will go right over their heads and they fool you.
I am wondering if that happened here. My daughter had a nightmare that I died. It is the second time that I am aware of that happening. Thankfully it is not a regular occurrence, but she was shaken up. I walked into her room and found her shrieking that something or someone had killed me.
So I took her into my arms and she curled up against me and I spoke to her in a soft voice and reassured her that I was fine. She cried for a moment or two and then asked me a series of questions about dying. In some ways it felt like history repeating as I had been through it with her brother.
I asked her to try and tell me more about her dream to see if I couldn’t piece things together. She wasn’t able to tell me much other than I had died and she was scared that she’d never see me again. I kissed her forehead and told her that I loved her again and she smiled. For a moment I thought that I was through the hard part and then she started to cry. When I asked her why she was crying she told me that she was afraid of dying.
So I reminded her that she is very young and going to live a very long life. Abstract concepts like that are hard for a four-year-old so I tried to make it simple. And then she gave me a clue as to what was fueling this.
Some of her friend’s grandparents have died recently. They were sudden deaths, women in their sixties so I suspect that she may have heard the mothers talking about this. Not to mention that she may have heard a conversation about my own father’s health. Maybe she wasn’t sleeping in the car, hmm….
Anyhoo, this morning she was far more chipper and upbeat. And just when I thought that we were beyond that she asked to talk to me. It was all of two minutes before she had to leave for school and I thought that what she wanted was to hug and kiss me goodbye.
So I bent over and received a lecture. The little girl put one hand on her hip and told me that I am not allowed to die for 235 days. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she had just given me less than a year to live. And then she made me promise that if any bad guys come I teach them some respect.
That line about teach them some respect got my attention. I haven’t the foggiest idea where that came from. She watches Dora and Diego not the Godfather and Good Fellas. I am going to have to do a little investigating.
And that my friends is a quick snapshot of a recent moment here.