As promised today, I have an excerpt from my 365 project for Sunny. But that will be down towards the end. First I'd like to explain why I chose this bit to share with you today. This morning as we shared a hug and a snuggle, she told me she loved me and would until I was old and started to die. Sounds morbid right?
It's not. This is the age where death, though they cannot yet grasp the finality of it, is a concept they are starting to ponder. They're going to ask lots of questions. Some will be morbid, and some will make you want to bawl. Answer them the best you can. Everyone will have different answers based on their religion and beliefs. Just know that when your child starts asking these questions, it's normal; and totally OK to give them real answers. It's also OK to step away and think about it before you answer. There's nothing wrong with asking your child to give you some time to think about it, and compose yourself. Death is a very real and scary thing, and the thought of your child wanting to know about something so sad, well it can be very hard on parents. Particularly, when the child wants to know about YOUR death, and how it will pertain to them.
So our conversation continued with me telling Sunny I would love her while I was in heaven as well. She decided she was going to pick a stuffed animal for me to take with me when I go. She picked a spotted dalmatian dog and gave it to me right away. I gave it back and assured her, I am not going anywhere anytime soon, I'm not ready. The first part is a lie, since we don't get to choose, we never know when it will come. The second part is not a lie. But really, who is EVER ready. Especially when you're young and have kids.
I asked her to hold on to the dog, to fill him with love and care for him until I was ready for him to go with me. She liked that idea. Then we went on with our morning and pretended to be dolphins. It's really amazing how they can go from heavy to light so easily. I spent my mermaid time coming down from it. But I'm really proud of myself and the fact that I stayed calm enough to talk to her about it.
So below is a page from the journal I am keeping for Sunny, full of letters, messages and love. A little background on this particular one, I wrote it March of this year. We were watching UP after dinner (remember the super sad sequence where we watch their lives as they fall in love, get married, get pregnant, lose the baby, grow old and she dies?) this conversation came right after that. I didn't want to forget it, so as soon as we had all calmed down, I grabbed my journal and wrote it down with both kids in my arms.
Sunny: When do Mommies go?
Me: Go where?
Your chin started to quibble and your eyes start to tear up
Sunny: When you get old will you have to go away forever?
Me: Someday, really far from now Mommy will have to leave, but it won't be forever. I'll go to heaven and then I'll wait for you to get really old.
Sunny: But I'll miss you. I won't have a Mommy.
Me: You'll always have a Mommy and I'll always love you, even if we can't always be together.
There was crying. And lots of hugs and kisses. LOTS. I'm tearing up a bit now. No one wants to think of leaving their kids behind. As you can see, I 'lied' again. I think this is the kind of lie that's OK though. It could be tomorrow, four months from now, or 2 weeks after my 104th birthday. I won't lie, I'm really aiming for the last one.
I hope that you take something from this post, because it's not the easiest thing to write about. I hope some of you will decide to do one of these journals for your daughters (or sons!) If you decide to do one for your son, I would love insight on topics to talk about, messages to send. Having been a girl myself, I know personally what I would have liked to know/hear about growing up, so that gives me an inside on what to write to Sunny.
If nothing else from this post, know that when YOUR child asks you these questions, you've got MILLIONS of Moms out there who have answered the same questions, and we're all there to hold your hand when the sad gets to you too <3