They are happening frequently with Skyler lately. She is so observant and curious and doesn’t miss a thing. In car rides to and from work/school, I turn on mindless music out of habit. The lyrics have no meaning to me – I don’t even know them or pay attention, I just hear a rhythm in the background as my thoughts meander. But Skyler says “Mommy, why does that girl singing need to be rescued?” I snap out of it to realize she’s picked up the lyrics to a techno dance song, which aren’t meant to be profound or tell much of a story anyway. What can I say? Times like that I honestly answer “I don’t know.” But Skyler doesn’t let it go. “Maybe she’s lost and needs someone to find her,” to which I promptly answer, “yeah, that’s probably it.” But she keeps on with it: “Who is going to rescue her?” To which I respond “Maybe a good friend?” She answers my answer matter-of-factly “No, probably her mommy will rescue her.” Arghhh, pang in the heart – how adorable is that?
I need to pay more attention. There are lyrics on the radio that she repeats, thankfully inaccurately, that in reality are terribly inappropriate, so I go right along with her incorrect interpretations and vow to turn the channel next time I hear those songs get started. It’s humorous, but I certainly can’t explain the real words and meaning to a 4-year-old, and I don’t want her singing anything recognizable to it in preschool where someone might recognize what she was singing.
But the toughest conversations to date have definitely been the subject of “death.” It began with curiousity, and then realization, and then fear on her part. And of course the question of “why.” To keep things light and hopeful, I explained that “God made us and loves us, but let us come to Earth and spend time away from Heaven, like Mommy & Daddy let you go spend time with your grandparents. But God misses us, just like we miss you when you’re gone for too long, so death is a way for us to go back to being with God.” Pretty genius for on-the-fly, zero preparation for that questions, huh? But it wasn’t good enough since she doesn’t have a grasp on God or Heaven and consider either one of them of much interest at this point in her life. She cried and said she just wanted to stay here forever with Mommy and Daddy. Arghhhhhh she breaks my heart sometimes, in such a good way! I had not more great explanations after that, except that Mommy and Daddy want to be with her as long as we can be together before any of us go to be with God. She finally moved on, asking the “when” question, which I had to attempt without scaring her that any single second she or me or Daddy or anyone could be struck dead on the spot, since we never do know our ETA’s. I just went with the most common age range, that being a really big number that she can’t even count to yet, like ninety or maybe even one hundred. At which point she promptly made me count every single number from 4 through 100 while she repeated each one after me. At least she’s learning to count high!
We haven’t really discussed death much since then; she’s moved on pretty well and not obsessed about it. However, she often asks me how far certain random numbers are from “90 or 100”. That girl, she doesn’t forget a thing…