Lately Maria has been asking questions. Lots and lots of questions!
Although I am impressed with her inquisitivity, I am also shocked that a 3 year old is asking some of these things. Most times, I have to stop and think very hard at how I'm going to answer them. God forbid I tell her the wrong thing and scar her for life!!!
For example, she has been asking alot of questions about death, and dying, lately. This all started when I told her the batteries in her Glo-Worm were "dead." Why I didn't just say "Oh, Glo Worm needs new batteries." is beyond me. Without thinking, I said the batteries were dead and she quickly followed up with "What's dead?"
That conversation escalated a little when she saw pictures of an old dog I had that died back in 2003, named Mary. She asks what happened to Mary. Where is Mary now? How did Mary get to heaven? Can I visit Mary?
I finally told her that Mary got really sick and the doctors could not make her better so she died. Why did Mary die?
I tried to be honest and give her only the information I thought she could process at this age. I told her all living things eventually die. People, animals, trees, flowers...nothing was meant to live forever.
After soaking this up for a few days, the questions began again. "Am I going to die? Mommy, are you going to die? I don't want you to die (tears start streaming from her face) I will miss you!"
One day in the car, she began asking about death again. "Why does God want us to die?" (That's a really tough one, by the way!)
She started asking about certain people...first Grandma Birdie (that's what she calls my mom), then PaPa Galen, the Uncle Jeff, Naomi, her cousin Olivia.....
As the realization that each person whom she loves so dearly might one day no longer be here hit her...the tears just started flowing. I'm glad I was driving and she couldn't see me becasue I was crying, too. What a hard lesson to learn at such a young age. I felt sad for her...like part of her innocence was being ripped away. I was mad at myself for letting the conversation get so far, but I know that she is going to learn this hard topic eventually. I am sad that these thoughts cross her mind occasionally, but glad that she opens up to me and asks me questions. This has been a great opportunity to teach her about loving people and doing good things while we're here on Earth, but it's such a heavy topic for a 3 year old.
I hope the things that Gerry and I have said to her are the right things. I hope she doesn't go to bed at night thinking about death and people leaving her. It's a reality, but I hoped to be able to shield her from these things just a little while longer.
On a lighter side of things, she has been asking questions on other topics, and some of them are pretty humuorous. Things like "Why does the sun go down, Why does the Earth spin around, How does the Earth spin around, Are there people on other planets, How do we know if we are a boy or girl, Why did God make boys and girls, Why did you (meaning me) get married, Why can't I marry my daddy, Why is Naomi a girl, Where is God, What color is God's hair (when we told her we didn't know what color God's hair was, she said she thinks he has stars for hair), What does God like to eat, What is God doing right now, Why are there monsters....
The list goes on and on...
I am thrilled to have a child who wants to know so much. Her questions crack me up as much as they break my heart. My baby is growing up and realizing some hard facts about the world. My hope is that she will always be curious and want to learn, no matter how hard the answers are to hear.