Forgive me as I repeat a story some of you may have heard, but it still makes me smile to this day and yesterday Greg said something that reminded me of it again.
Back after September 11th there were hundreds … no thousands of memorials and services of every kind. Being in New York at that time, as many of you can attest to, was a surreal experience and one I pray no one has to ever live through again regardless how proud I am to claim my Native New Yorker status. It seemed there was not a day that we weren’t hearing bagpipes or watching funeral coverage. Mostly there were vigils. Every night for almost that first year there was a vigil of some kind somewhere. Several times there were candle light vigils in our neighborhood.
Thomas was only 3 at the time, Greg was almost 16 months and we were pregnant with Julia, but didn’t know it yet. Emotions were raw and I was exhausted both physically and mentally . So one morning as I am buckling the boys into their car seats to head to head off to preschool, T asked me why we had candles lit and why were we outside with our neighbors last night? I explained that we were asking God to help us and to take care of some wonderful people that had recently been to heaven.
T: “What’s God?”
Me: “Well God is there to take care of us when we are sick and when we are healthy. God looks out for us when we are getting into trouble or if we are sad or even when we are having fun and happy. No matter what we are doing or where we are God is there to help us and take care of us.” (I admit, I was quite proud of myself for this explanation to a 3 year old and thought I had this parenthood thing covered! A cinch!
T: ” Oh! I get it Mommy! …… God is a lady?!”
Now I gotta say, no matter what your religious beliefs are or aren’t, ya gotta admit, this kid is going to be an awesome husband some day!
My children have always looked at things with different eyes than I do.
Greg, for instance, seems to be turning into a religious zealot of sorts! He can quote passages from the bible after only hearing them once, which is sadly usually the most he hears them around here. He finds it absolutely fascinating to hear stories of the bible and is amazed by Noah in particular. Yesterday was a new page however.
We stopped in Mickey D’s on our way home from picking T up from camp. This particular McD’s had more large flat screen TVs than I think are in my entire neighborhood and each of them were tuned to the news. I know you aren’t going to believe this after seeing such brief coverage, but they were actually showing clips of Michael Jackson! Gasp! Well as I’m ordering I see the kids are glued to the TV and then the pictures of young Michael come on. You know, the cute ones when he was just a sweet little boy with an explosion of talent inside of him. Those are the pictures most of us are touched the most by. Apparently, so are my kids. I see Greg’s lower lip move up and out over his top lip. The big blue eyes are filled with tears. Julia takes one look at him and she bursts out in sobs. Thank goodness I was ordering their desert and we were on our way out because I could tell this wasn’t going to be pretty. Julia starts with, “Why did he have to die Mommy? He is just a boy!” “Thomas interjects with his know-it-all-11-year-old attitude, “He’s not a kid anymore Julia. He has 3 kids of his own and he’s even older than Mom” (Thanks for that by the way, Tommy!). Julia screams “You mean his kids lost their Dad?!” More sobs. Now I’m walking towards the door with their sundaes hoping to make a break for it and Greg yells right behind me in complete hysterics, “It’s all because of the sin!” You could hear a pin drop as everyone looked over at this child in utter tears. I had no idea where this was headed. He went on with, in his VERY LOUD voice, “If Adam and Eve hadn’t done that whole sin thing Michael Jackson wouldn’t have died! It’s all because of Sin!” Dear God! (Pardon the pun) I could not get my kids out of there fast enough and into the car! Julia, as you can guess, was 20 questions all away across the parking lot, which I’m sure they lengthened while I was inside. I couldn’t get ice cream into her mouth fast enough. Greg was totally distraught and sobbed for long enough that his sundae was soup before he was able to breath and eat. Thomas sat there giggling and smirking the entire time.
I know those other parents back at the restaurant had a lot of explaining to do after we left, but as I wiped the sweat off the back of my neck, I was just happy to be in the safety of my air conditioned Suburban and headed home. I don’t mind that Greg quotes the bible or that he can tell you each story in detail. He is just like that with things that interest him and I actually think it is quite wonderful. His explosion in a public place was what pushed me over the edge, but now has me smiling as his brother did years before.
This parenthood thing? Not really the “cinch” I thought it was going to be. Wonder what the next day … naaaahhhh … hour will bring!