How do you explain death to a child? It is a question that I have been asking myself lately after hearing the news of Robin Williams.
The other night when we were sitting down to dinner my phone started to explode, not literally but the ringing from it was constant. Naturally, I have to check it and find out that Robin Williams died knowing that Hot Momma would be interested. We both were shocked by the news but little did we know that the Kid would be too.
The Kid, for those of you who don’t know, is named William. I just chose to use the Kid as his name on this blog. After making the announcement at dinner, William’s face immediately turns from a jubilant 3-year-old to heartbroken child.
“You mean I died?” He said.
Hot Momma and I look at each other shocked that the Kid made an immediate connection to the death of Robin Williams, all because of a name.
We tried to explain that it was someone else, someone that Hot Momma and I used to watch on TV all the time. This just made the situation even worse in the eyes of the Kid.
“Bad guys killed him didn’t they?”
“We don’t know that yet but I don’t think they did.” (We now know the most of the story)
“But only bad guys make people die.”
“Yes you are right, but sometimes people die from other reasons. That happens.”
I will be the first to admit that the death of Robin Williams hit me hard. It hit me harder than any other celebrity death. This exchange with the Kid didn’t help things. I could tell just how much he was identifying with the loss. How do you explain to a child that death happens and is a natural part of life?
It wasn’t but five minutes after we had finished eating that he forgot the conversation and was asking me to play cars with him. As I am racing cars with him I couldn’t help but wonder how this will affect the Kid. Will he ask about it later? Will he ask if the bad guys that killed that one guy were caught?
On one hand I am glad to know that he understands the difference between good and bad guys. On the other hand, I want him to know that death is a natural part of life. Maybe I am expecting him to grow up to quickly.
I don’t know if I am ready to answer the tough questions that parenting has to bring me. While explaining that bad guys aren’t the only reason people die isn’t that tough of a question, it was a sign of what is to come. A sign that I am not ready for.
Do you ever have one of those days? One of those days where you are sore, tired, and so is your spouse? We weren’t tired for any of the reasons you are probably thinking of.
We were tired because we spent all day on Saturday building paver patio off the steps of our deck. This involved digging up a 11 by 12 section of grass with very established roots. The soil in our area is also very clay like. I won’t bore you with details though.
We were able to build most of the patio on Saturday and by Saturday night both Hot Momma and myself were extremely tired and our muscles ached. We settled down for an early evening and basically had to crawl into bed.
We were both hoping for a good night sleep when around 4am there was a very strong thunderstorm that made its way through our area. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal because I am able to sleep through storms. However, it is different now that I have a toddler.
Thunder waking up the Kid, he came running into our room looking for our protection from the storm. You would think that by now I would be used to sleeping with a toddler, however, I am not. Being kicked in the back and backhanded on the cheek makes for a very restless night sleep.
When morning decided to shine its ugly face we were even more sore and tired. I was walking around the house like I was a 90 year old man. I almost needed a walker to make it around the house.
As we were going throughout the day, the Kid was in rare form. He was being loud and just had more energy than normal. This would not have been a big deal if Hot Momma and I weren’t so tired and sore. He was just being a toddler I realize that. We were not in the mood to be able to handle him being this way.
We were unable to be the parents that we strive to be. We couldn’t play with him. We couldn’t laugh and have a good time. He could tell that we were not feeling that great. But he still insisted on pushing our buttons.
We laugh about it now looking back. As the soreness subsided we became more active with the Kid and our day ended on a more positive note than it began. It was just one of those days that you just wish that you could have a mulligan and do it all over again.
I was never one to show affection towards my mother. In fact, I am still not. When my mom tries to give me a hug, one of my arms goes limp and only the other one will wrap around her. For some reason the words, “I Love You” get stuck somewhere in my mouth. She knows that I love her, but for some reason the words just cannot come out of my mouth.
They say if you are a woman (clearly I am not so I am only hearing this third hand) that if you want to see how a man will treat you, watch how he treats his mother. Well I am glad that I have such an incredible wife could see beyond that and realize that I do love my mother, I just don’t always show it. Otherwise, I would not be where I am in my wonderful life, which is incredible because of my wife. Anyway, enough trying to earn points.
I really don’t know what my deal is. Maybe it is because I haven’t really reached the adult age of 30. Maybe this is really my way of showing my mother that I love her but giving her these one-armed hugs. Could that be our thing? So mom if you are reading this, the one-armed thing is our special thing and that is why I do it and it is my way of showing you that I love you.
The way that I treat my mother though, has a trickle-down effect to my son as well.
I am not shy in saying that I have had 3 jobs by the time that I turn 30. Each of those jobs have increased in difficulty in different ways. All 3 jobs have had their sets of challenges and rewards. One job though, is the hardest job that I will ever have AND the most rewarding.
Being A Dad.
3 Months from today will be quite possibly the biggest life event since turning 21. Unless you count the drop in insurance rates when you get married. Speaking of getting married that is a pretty big life event too right? OK maybe it is but then again I’m still in my 20’s. Yeah, you heard right, I’m in the 20’s. However, in 3 months I will no longer be able to call myself a 20 something. I will be 30!
Now, I having never lived through my 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and if Hot Momma hasn’t killed by then my 60’s. But, this to me is my last transition into adulthood. For me, it has been a 12 year transition of awkwardness, silliness, triumphs, defeats, good times, bad times, and downright awesomeness.
I don’t remember much about turning 18. I’m sure that it was spent chatting on the Internet with some girls, yeah I was total player with girls I hardly saw. But that was the year I went off to college and at what I thought at the time was really understanding what life was really about. I got my first real girlfriend and discovered what I really wanted to do with my life.
Then I turned 21. This birthday was sort of bitter-sweet for me. It was spent with friends having my first drink of beer. Yes I did wait till I was 21. I remember where I was, my favorite pizza place with a tower of beer. My friends wanted to continue the party but being young and stupid, I decided to spend the evening with my girlfriend, who I mind you dumped me shortly after that. Looking back, I wish that I had gone out with them.
Shortly after taking my first big person job with salary and benefits, I met Hot Momma. This is one of two events in my life that I have never looked back at. The moment I met her, I knew that she was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. No time was wasted in proposing to her. I’ve been known to make some pretty stupid decisions in my life and this was not one of them. Marrying Hot Momma was and still is the best decision that I have ever made.
2 years after Hot Momma and I were married, our little bundle of joy came into our lives. This was the second event in my life where I have never looked back, except for the sleepless night, getting puked on, peed on, and getting sick. OK maybe I do look back at this event, but it isn’t one that I would take back. Next to marrying Hot Momma this has been the one thing that has brought me many moments of joy.
This brings me to where I am today. I never thought that all of this would happen in the span of a 12 years. It seems like so much has happened in such a sort amount of time. Maybe that is what our 20’s are for. Discovering who we are so that we can be better future people.
In 3 months, I will be what I determine, a full fledged adult. Some may say differently but to each his own. The journey to an adult has not been an easy one. It looks like I have a bunch of growing up in the months ahead.