Today, we were on our way home from spending the day with a good friend.
Mairead says: "Mommy? Can I ask you a question?"
Me: "Sure, go ahead!"
Mairead: "Why do some people die?"
WHOA.........................Where did that come from???
Me: "Excuse me? Can you say that again, I didn't quite hear you..." even though I was pretty sure I knew what she said, and sure enough, she asked the same question. I asked her where she heard the word die come from because I know Kevin and I haven't really broached the topic of death yet. Mairead told me our babysitter told her that her daddy had died when she was little (Cameron, if you're reading this, no worries!).
My mind was racing. What would be the right, most appropriate thing to tell a not-quite 4 year old girl about death? I had to think of something quick...she was waiting. I didn't want to give her an answer that would scare her. I never want her to be scared about death.
I told her that sometimes people get very, very sick and the body cannot work anymore (or something to that point) and once that happens, the person has to go to Heaven. I also wanted to clarify that sick wasn't just a cold, but more than that. Whatever it was I said satisfied her, and she didn't ask any more. I was taught way back when, to only answer the child's question, and if they ask more, then answer. I always thought that was a good rule of thumb. I always want to be honest with my children, and not give them an answer that isn't true.
I guess that is why my 4 year old knows exactly how babies are born. Knows more about a cervix than I did at the age of 20 and knows more about the human body than most adults. She asks. I answer....but never divulge too much information :) Just enough that is needed to answer the question!
Ah, this is just a remind that all these tough questions are sitting right on the tip of her tongue. It won't be long until she starts asking more difficult questions like these. Wow.