We’d just finished their Saturday morning dance class – ballet & tap – which they’d really enjoyed.
We were sitting around drinking juice & hot drinks & eating crisps in the cafe there, which has now become something of a tradition.
There had been general chat about the class etc. but now, as there often is when children are focussed on eating & drinking, there was silence.
A silence suddenly broken by Jake:
“How do we die?”
When it started again the Mummy & I realised we’d done well not to spit out our drinks.
I silently noted the use of the word “we”. How can a 3-year-old be so self-aware?!
We just looked at each other, in deep shock. With Jake looking on at us, expectantly.
There was a pause, then she was the first to respond.
To be honest my memory is a bit blurry; I think I’m still in a state of shock. It was very good though, something along the lines of:
“As we get very old we get slower & slower, until our bodies finally just stop working”.
What else can you say?! I didn’t know: I was thrown, & I’m really pleased that the Mummy had such presence of mind that she was able to respond so well & so quickly.
Jake seemed satisfied with that, & we moved on. Nothing more was said nor has been since.
We carried on sipping & snacking in silence. Although what thoughts were going through Jake & Ellie’s heads I really don’t know.
- Further evidence that my children are smarter than me
- A Quiet Conversation – by Damien Fitton, Illustrated by Lakshmy Mathur (thestoryshack.com)
- Dr. Ranj: Children and Grief (sayinggoodbye.org)