We were so close. After a way-too-packed day with a doctor’s visit and a long roaming Legoland adventure and soccer class, I managed to get both kids fed, showered, and prepped for bed by–wait for it–7:15pm. By myself. 7:15pm! They were going to get extra sleep! They were going to wake up cheerful! I was going to have two whole hours alone before B returned from his business trip!
Yes, well, we were going to do all that. But after tucking in K, I went to tuck M in and found him sniffling back tears.
“Momma, I wish God never made heaven.”
Hmm. I climbed on his bed. “Why would you say that?”
“Because I don’t want to die.”
And so began a long conversation at a terribly awkward time. This is one of my least favorite topics, simply because I absolutely don’t want to lie to the kids, and yet I want to give them a solid answer. I want them comforted. I want them to focus on living. I want them to do all the things that even I sometimes have trouble doing.
So I didn’t get the time to myself. But I did get to snuggle in bed with my son and talk about how wonderful heaven would be. This I apparently overdid, because his tears suddenly turned into, “I don’t want to live. I just want to go to heaven.” So then we got to talk about how wonderful earth was. In the end, M settled down to sleep, his face half-hearted. And I suppose I should have figured on that from the beginning.
Is there some magic solution out there? Should you really tell kids they’re only going to die when they’re old, and that you’re there when they die, and all the things that will comfort him? Or go the honest route, my own heart breaking that I can’t assuage their fears? Or maybe I should just keep them up late watching movies so we avoid all sorts of deep conversations? Okay, just kidding. But tempting…