Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tough Questions

I know my kids are growing up. I am reminded of all of the wonderful benefits of such on a daily basis. Spontaneous adventures sans strollers or nap time deadlines, the declining frequency of meltdowns, etc. are a huge plus. Life is so much more free now that we don't need so much 'stuff.'

The downside is that I am suddenly burdened by other 'stuff' in the form of increasingly unavoidable conversations about some of the difficult things in this life. I am much less able to avoid much of what I have worked so hard to shelter them from.

Believe it or not, I have not had to explain divorce to them yet. This week I discovered that a good friend of R's is experiencing his parents' divorce the Summer. Thankfully, I heard of it before the children did, so my husband and I have had the opportunity to talk about how to explain it in a way that reassures our children that they can remain secure in our commitment to one another, but are not judging the people going through it.

I am learning to appreciate the gift of advance preparation. Sometimes I don't get that benefit. For example, this morning, when my ever inquisitive K asked about the necklace I wear almost every day.
"Mom, why do you like to wear that same necklace all the time?" she asked.
"Because it reminds me that Daddy loves me," I responded.
"Why?" she countered.
"He gave it to me the night before our wedding. It always makes me think about that."
"So, did you and Daddy sleep together that night?" she asked.
Whhhhhaaaaaattttttt? Where on Earth did she learn that phrase? Why would she think that? My mind was racing. Then I remembered my friend Holly's advice: No matter what they say...don't freak out. They'll think they can't talk to you about hard stuff.
I collected my senses and realized she did not mean that any other way than the obvious. I mean, really, how could she?
"No, baby, you don't share a bed with another grown up until you are married." I responded cooly (by the grace of God).
"Oh..." she responded, "Why not?"
Here we go again...
"Because, getting to have a spend the night party every night with your best friend is one of the rewards of being married. You have to wait."

Mercifully, that satisfied her and she skipped off.
Whew!

I never knew that the Extemporaneous Speaking class I took long ago might actually be practical preparation for motherhood.

P.S. It reminded me of this interrogation from K regarding where babies come from some time ago.

11 comments:

ChelseaSalomone said...

Just wanted to tell you how very much I enjoyed your post yesterday. It has really led to a lot of thinking on my part and a great discussion between my husband and I, although we don't have kids yet. Thank you so much for that wonderful reminder of how very important it is for our actions to match our beliefs.

HW said...

Unfortuantely I had no choice but to talk to my children about divorce when they were quite young. My parents were divorced when I was nine. My son asked, when he was four "why is there a grandpa there when we visit daddy's parents but your mommy doen't have a grandpa?" It was heartbreaking and made me realize that the sting of divorce goes on for generations.

As divorce becomes more commong, it is good to teach your children how to interact with the children that live with this sad situation. It's a great first lesson on compassion.

Keri said...

Wow... so odd that K asked you about "sleeping together" recently, because my daughter - a couple weeks older than K - also used that phrase recently, in reference to my sister and her new boyfriend. I, too, was completely jarred by her use of the phrase but, like K, she was only innocently inquiring about literal sleeping habits. Still, you're right - it's a reminder of the hard discussions that are to come... Thank the Lord in advance for giving us the right words for those moments, right? :-)

Tara said...

And she probably didn't even mean anything by it... it always interests me how our thoughts can be on such different levels.

Amy said...

I love your explanation about getting married and having "sleepovers" with your best friend. What a great way to phrase that. I may file that away in my brain and use it when needed if you don't mind.

We have moved to France recently (my husband is in the military) and my children have been exposed to such a different culture and they have had many, many questions lately. It is so hard to know you're saying the right thing without being too judgemental.

Thank you so much for you sharing your life with us. I can really relate to so many things you have said, especially recently.

God Bless,
Amy

Bailey's Leaf said...

Just this past week, I was telling the VBS ladies (older ladies at the donation counting table) about how my K- was asking if parts can change when you grow up. We're talking a change in gender here.

"No, baby. You have what God gave you and that's it." "Oh!"

It's amazing what they hear when they are out and about and we don't even realize it.

Julie said...

I think you are doing a great job of being open with your children. Ran across this video recently and found it very powerful.

http://vickicourtney.com/2010/06/you-cant-protect-me/

Danielle said...

Agh, this week alone we have had to talk about divorce, ovaries (and why girls have them), bad guys versus bad choices, why I do not have a relationship with my father (abuse) and it never seems to end. I think the hard thing for me is that while the initial asker of the question may be satisfied with a very simple explanation the other two are already thinking of follow up questions before I am even done with the first explanation thus prompting more questioning by the first. It's like a rapid fire interrogation and always when I am least prepared! Just an average day in the life when you have triplets I guess :)

Samantha said...

Enjoy the sweet reprieve that your quick witted answer provided. K will be 12 before you blink good and the answer to her question will then involve descriptions of anatomy and questions regarding your present "sleeping" habits. Whew! I look at my pubescent pre-teen daily and wonder where that innocent blonde headed child went. Each stage truly has its own precious moments as well as challenging ones.

Tara said...

Wow, what a great response! I have also opted to discuss divorce with our kids at a later time. I want them to think that all is as God planned for as long as possible. However the other day at the park a little boy informed them that when he was born his father left him and his mother. WHAT? But it did provide the chance to talk about how that Mom picked up and carried on, how we are so blessed to have their daddy with us, and how our heavenly Father will never leave us. But I would have liked to have held off on that conversation a little longer! Sometimes we don't get the chance to figure out the best answer, but you do a great job at it!

Tara said...

Wow, what a great response! I have also opted to discuss divorce with our kids at a later time. I want them to think that all is as God planned for as long as possible. However the other day at the park a little boy informed them that when he was born his father left him and his mother. WHAT? But it did provide the chance to talk about how that Mom picked up and carried on, how we are so blessed to have their daddy with us, and how our heavenly Father will never leave us. But I would have liked to have held off on that conversation a little longer! Sometimes we don't get the chance to figure out the best answer, but you do a great job at it!