Driving and Crying

I sometimes don’t even realize how fast G is growing up. That she’ll be four in just a couple of short months just hasn’t penetrated my conciousness yet.

On the way to school this morning, I had the mirror angled so I could see her in the back seat. She was leaning her head to the side of the car seat and was staring out the window when she said, “Mama? You and Daddy and me and Adele and Homer and Juju and Vanilla are never going to die, right?” I didn’t know how to respond. Not even a little. We’ve never talked about death with her until recently, when our neighbor’s dog passed away. We didn’t even really elaborate, just explained that Sascha’s body had given out and she was in dog heaven (a fantastic book by Cynthia Rylant, by the way, should you ever need to explain the demise of a pet.) She had seemed to take it in stride and we moved along to other topics, but to have her broach it again with our family as the subject completely floored me.

I just said that none of us was going anywhere anytime soon, and changed the subject. But my eyes were stinging and my throat needed to be cleared again and again because What If? What If something were to happen to one of us? My life, my heart is centered around my family and I know that no one is invincible. From watching the grace with which others have handled the unthinkable (Heather and Mike and Stephanie Nielson come to mind immediately) I know that life does go on, that one can continue to move through life. But I’m an adult. I can grasp that on a bigger level because I have the understanding and capacity to do so. How do I explain any of this to a three-year old?

So I copped out. I moved on, I changed the subject, I made her laugh. Because I can’t explain something to her that scares me so much.


2 Comments on “Driving and Crying”

  1. It is a tough question to answer. One that I skirt around, too, because I don’t think there is any good way of answering at that age. Or, really, any age.

  2. qussa says:

    I wouldn’t know how to answer that question either.
    The only thing that comes to mind is when my cousin once, when walking through the park, asked me ‘can you please hold my hand forever?’ I said forever might not be possible, because I had other practical things to do and so did he, so then he said ‘can you then hold my hand the whole day?’ and I said yes. With which he seemed entirely satisfied. So an answer that includes ‘hopefully not anytime soon’ may not be as bad as you think.

    (Found you through She Likes Purple, btw. Nice to meet you 🙂 )

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