“Where is Max?” Asked little Birdie this morning over breakfast. Max is my step-dad’s dog who sadly had to be put down a little while ago. Max is one of two dogs we know that have recently died and Birdie has become quite curious/obsessed about the where’s and why’s of the situation.
“He got very sick and very old and had to go away.” I clumsily replied.
“To the clouds.” she stated.
“Uh, yes, maybe.”*
“And one day I will go and be with Max. And then later you and Daddy and Pixie can come to be with me again.”
One mother, stumped in her tracks.
With language comes conversation. With conversation comes many, many, many questions. With many, many, many questions comes thought, depth, concentration, understanding, concepts, shape.
Children have a way of dragging and pulling and pushing and persistently enforcing us to stay in the present moment, the here and the now. Birdie brought me to such an abrupt halt with her thoughts this morning, my eyes welled with tears. I realised, with a surprising amount of shock, that we will not be together forever. There will be a time when our wee family of four will be separated.
I don’t have them forever, and they don’t have me, and that is why I slapped a smile on my face and hugged my babies and didn’t care that the Pixie wasn’t sleeping and that Birdie spilled her porridge on the floor. I didn’t care that I put her shoes on and she pulled them off, that I forgot to brush my hair or that my coffee went cold.
I hugged my babies and smiled and went about my day. I hope you are doing the same.
*I am unsure about the whole “to the clouds” thing that people have been telling her. I didn’t grow up in a religious family, and haven’t given the death conversation much thought until it has suddenly become such a popular topic for our little lady. It has surprised me how many people have told her that we go to heaven or to the clouds when we die. I am ok with it, but I suppose I would prefer to give her a more flexible answer about where we go when we die so she can one day make up her own mind – for I myself am unsure of the answer.