Tonight I heard my 5-year-old son crying in his bed. Actually, if you ask him he’s 5 and 3/4’s, which is nowhere near 5 at all I’ll have you know! It was passed his bedtime and I had assumed he was crying because a) he was overtired or b) he was in denial about even being tired. It was neither.
I asked my crying child, sternly, what was wrong… You know stern, right? Hands on hips, firm, deep (cranky) voice…. Yes stern and I did this stern-thing twice! I know, I know ‘parent of the year’ and my only defence is that I had already been in 5 times to his procrastinating two-year-old brother who had wanted a rug, he’d wanted a drink, he wanted another drink and another and then finished off wanting to tell me he loved me – in his not-so-verbal-way … Of course, this part only ever comes after I’ve gotten really cranky – always gets the mummy-guilt really activated! Well played son, well played! After the second stern-hand-on-hip-accusation to my upset child, I noticed he was sobbing more so than crying so I sat on his bed and asked more gently, like the good nurturing TV (and Facebook status) mummies do, what was wrong. He sat up and looked intently at me and I knew right then and there it was going to be deep. Deep for a 5 & 3/4-year-old and deeper for a 30-something-year-old who’d just trialled a new tequila drink in preparation for New Years Eve… It was sickly sweet by the way and tequila, no matter how you mask it, still tastes like the tequila slammers you had in your 20’s with lemon and salt at 4 o’clock in the morning. I drank it though, waste not want not – as my good mother educates me!
His crying wasn’t about missing his Daddy who was at work or about not getting a second turn on the Wii. It was about death. He didn’t want to die. He said to me in between his hyperventilating sobs that he had only just realised that when you die and you go to the hospital they can’t make you alive again. Argh… Insert heartbreaking sad emojis here!!! Seriously, my heart split into tiny pieces and I had to control myself so that I didn’t curl up in the foetal position and hyperventilate too. This is one thing I’m not good at… Oh and cooking. I also kinda suck at parenting too, along with sticking to diets, keeping my own secrets secret and keeping on top of my huge washing piles – I super exceed the suckiness at that!
But I managed to restrain my own tears and fears of death and I sat with him for a good 10 minutes to try to calm him down – with the help of his 2-year-old brother who had come to console him with hugs and kisses too (all together now… Ohh hh hh). Initially, I tried to console him with the idea of Heaven, something I have had to believe in regardless of my religion because that was the only way I could deal with the thought of death as a child. I used to cry myself to sleep at night grieving my parents or my brothers or anyone I cared about who were all very much alive simply so I could prepare myself if it ever did happen… My theory? Well, then it wouldn’t hurt as much… Strange huh?! Anyway, I told him that when we die we go ‘up there’ to hang out with all the people we love and miss now and we all have fun together while we wait for the rest of our loved ones to join us. But my description was vague and he, being the bright 5 & 3/4-year-old, wanted more info…
“What happens to our bones, do they come with us? I thought we died and got buried and we never moved our bodies again?”
“No, it’s like magic Chevy. When you die your Earth body stays here but you are still you in Heaven.”
“Even my eyes?”
“Yes, even your eyes will go to Heaven.”
“What about my bones?”
“Yes even your bones, you lips, your tongue. All of you that makes you Chevy will go to Heaven.” Then he wanted to know if someone chopped his head off would his head still go too?
“Yes. No matter what happens to you or your body here on Earth you will still be Chevy in Heaven.”
At this point, he had stopped crying. *Winning* We had a huge hug and I finished with a prize winning speech about being grateful for being alive now, how we have to live life to the full and try our best to be good people. I should have recorded it coz I’m pretty sure it would have ended up on a Pinterest board somewhere but as with all good children and good advice it went straight in one ear and out the other before he had to clarify for a final time – chopping off the head would not mean no head in Heaven. Time to turn off all the dreadful news stories I think!
Poor bugger. I hope I helped the situation… A little! I tried my best to be inspiring and comforting. I think it worked seeing as he’s asleep now, with no more tears so I must have done ok!
It reminded me, even though I had complained all night about how loud they were, that I need to hugs those little ratbags tight more often. You too! Not my kids your own of course! Tell them you love them too and please, please don’t take any of my other heavenly advice on board! But feel free to share your own stories in the comments below!