Saturday, December 15, 2012

I looked them in the eyes and I lied

My kids are smart and they pick up on more than I ever think they will.  When I picked them up for school today Joseph casually remarked that there were a lot of pickups today. As we were walking out to the car we walked along with a friend of Elle's and his mother. His mother and I talked a little bit and both of us struggled to keep from crying. Joseph watched our faces and when the three of us got in the car he asked why I was crying.

I hesitated for a moment. I debated not telling them at all. Then I pictured what the kids might hear from other kids or on tv or on the internet and how all those things they hear might scare and confuse them. So I gave them a few of the bare bone facts. I toned things down and explained that the reason this was such a big story was because it happened so rarely. Joseph asked if something like that could happen to them.

I turned around and looked my children in the eye and I lied to them. I told them that there was no way something like that could ever happen. I promised them that they would be safe at school. I told that that their school will still do fire drills and tornado drills and lock down drills and that they would have to follow instructions so that they could be safe during those drills. I told them that those were times to listen to a teacher's instructions and to do it immediately or to listen to what a police officer or a fireman said and to do it quickly. I promised them that that would keep them safe.  

I can't keep bad things from happening to my children. No one can. I can try to prepare them but that's about it. I can't let them live in fear and anxiety. I can't keep them safe forever but I can do my best to make them feel safe. Every day from here on out I'm going to send them off to school with the fear in the back of my mind that they won't come home. What I've tried to give them is the gift of not having that fear.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Magically sacrilegious

There is a house near ours that has a large nativity scene in the front yard. Joseph loves it for some reason*. He calls it a "matility scene" and I don't have the heart to correct him. Every time we drive by it Joseph makes comments about it. He was delighted when he found out one of the people in the scene was named Joseph. The Joseph in this particular scene is holding a stick or  something but it really looks like a wand. One day as we were driving by Joseph said "It's neat how his name is Joseph and my name is Joseph and we both like magic." Then after a short pause he yelled "Expecto Baby Jesus!".

*He REALLY likes the light up nativity scenes. He says it looks like Jesus was born in a puddle of toxic sludge.