As spring break winds down (insert choir of angels singing here) I am now getting the chance to post about the last 7+ days.
We were very low key about Easter this year. We didn’t dye eggs, or go on any Easter egg hunts. I did put together an Easter basket for the Roc and “laid” a trail of plastic eggs in our bedroom for him to follow. I had to wait until he was taking a morning bath to do so, the cats would have rolled those eggs all over our wood floor if I left them there for too long. When I mentioned to the Roc that there was something downstairs, he was very excited to see the eggs in our bedroom. He quickly vaulted the gate,
and started collecting. It made me laugh to see the methodical way he picked up each egg, one at a time, opened it, and took out the sticker inside before picking up another. He wouldn’t last a second in an egg hunt!
It took him a few minutes, but he finally found his Easter basket.
No candy, only presents. That’s how the Easter bunny rolls in our GFCF household.
Beach toys, squirt gun (which I may regret later,) dinner game, and a wooden pizza set. He loves to unwrap and spent a good amount of time playing in the ripped up wrapping paper.
We spent the rest of the day outside, cleaning out our messy, messy garage. We set up the sand & water table, bubbles, and chalk on the sidewalk in front of the house, as well as a soccer net in the side yard and the Roc kept busy while we worked. He played. By himself. And he didn’t just pour sand and/or water repeatedly, though he did do a fair amount of that, he played. He buried toy cars and then exclaimed “I found it Mommy!” He bounced balls on the driveway and caught them, he kicked the soccer ball into the net. It was the first time that GC and I worked on something together and the Roc kept himself occupied. Something of an Easter miracle…or maybe just progress. Nice either way.
Later that evening as we sat down to dinner together the following exchange happened between the three of us, and it blew my mind.
GC: “Mmm, Roc this pot roast is amazing. Do you remember Great-Grammy down in South Carolina? Back when she could cook, she made the best pot roast in the world.”
Roc: “But she died.”
Me: “Yes, she did die. She’s not here anymore. We won’t see her when we go to South Carolina this year.”
Roc: “Where did she go?”
GC and I say at the same time, GC: “No one knows,” Me: “Heaven.”
Roc: “And you can’t come back. Why can’t you come back?”
GC: “That’s how it works when you die. You don’t come back.”
Roc: “I don’t want to die.”
Me: “That won’t happen for a long, long, long time.”
Roc: “Why did she die?”
GC: “Remember your book What’s Alive? Every living thing dies someday.”
Me: “She was very old buddy. That’s when people die, when they are very old. You are only 5 and Grammy was a lot older than you.”
GC: “Just remember to have fun every day and keep smiling.”
Me: …at a complete loss for words, I couldn’t come up with anything else. It was as if my mind was frozen. I was left wondering if I heard everything correctly. The Roc moved on to something else but this conversation rolled around in my mind.
I wanted to dedicate a post just to this conversation, but the words to describe my shock and awe never solidified. So, so much about that conversation completely amazed me. A first I never saw coming. GC and I talked about it later, and I thought about it while laying in the dark late that night. I thought about the post I would write during the week. But I had no time while the Roc was home…and we’ve had more conversations about death since Easter.
Driving home from swimming lessons on Wednesday the Roc pipped up from the backseat and told me that he didn’t want to get old and die. I was glad to be driving, the need to face forward and concentrate on the aggressive nature of my fellow rush hour drivers keeping me centered. I don’t remember exactly what I said other than I talked about how every living thing dies and this fact is a part of life. The following night as I tucked the Roc in bed he asked me what Grammy was doing in heaven. I was shocked that he remembered and felt completely unprepared for the question. We talked a little bit about heaven and what Grammy might be doing there. He said she was probably eating sweets, and I smiled remembering Grammy eating the “cracker candy” I would make and bring down just for her, knowing she would love it. Then he told me that he didn’t want to go to heaven because he couldn’t come back.
I almost broke apart.
I held myself back from exclaiming that I didn’t want him to go either. That I do not want to be in this world if it does not include him. That I cannot decide which is my biggest fear: my dying and not being able to see him grow up and be his mommy, or him dying and me having to live on without him. Instead I bit my tongue and tried to assure him that he didn’t have to worry about that right now.
I left his room that night stunned anew by this series of conversations about death. I sat on the top step of the landing trying to get a handle on myself. I just didn’t see it coming. Every time we had a small conversation this week I was blown away by the questions he was asking and how to answer them. He continues to show me that he has been paying attention all this time and is thinking things over even when I assume he doesn’t understand. We didn’t know how much he would understand about Grammy, and he’s showing us, and asking for us to explain those things that he doesn’t.
Makes me wonder what he is going to ask next.