I’m not good at talking about scary things with my children. Between my own anxiety and the “anxiety gene”
I imagine they’ve probably inherited from me. The last thing I ever want to do
is cause my children unnecessary distress in any way.
We had a spot of bad weather here in Biloxi over the weekend.
Thunderstorms, heavy winds, and tornado warnings were being discussed on the
news. My six-year-old, British, is extremely frightened of bad weather, and I tried to
make sure he didn’t see the weather reports.
We even have a bad weather ritual. I told British the walls
in the master bedroom are “thunder and lightning proof.” So, when bad weather
rolls in, we curl up in the bed and watch the Kardashians on Netflix. I have no
clue how Keeping Up With The Kardashians became
part of our little ritual, but he demands we turn on the Kardashians as part of
our bad weather routine. Maybe excessive wearing of peplum is soothing?
When the bad weather finally rolled through it was early in
the morning. A loud booming sound woke me up. Turns out the trampoline in our
backyard got caught up in the wind, flew over our house, and landed by the
street. I assume a tornado was the culprit, but my main concern was explaining
it to my six-year-old.
When British and Brucie (my sweet, oblivious three-year-old) finally asked why the trampoline was
by the street, many possible answers streaked through my head. Uhm, guess you’re on the naughty list and
the garbage men are going to pick it up? or A band of hooligans have been vandalizing trampolines in the
neighborhood. The police are working on it. I went with “The trampoline
grew wings and flew over the house.” Yep. That’s what I said. When I said it, I
realized immediately how ridiculous it sounded. British and Brucie fell over in
fits of giggles, and so far, they haven’t asked about it again.
The tornado happened Sunday morning. After the tragic events
that happened at the Boston Marathon on Monday, my concern over talking to British about the weather seems silly. There’s no way to sugarcoat a tragedy
for him. There’s no “national tragedy proof” room to hide in with him.
I’m not sure what I’ll say if or when British asks me about
what happened Monday. But I know this: I won’t make up a fairytale to protect him
from the truth.
I’ll tell him sometimes bad things happen to good people.
I’ll tell him evil people exist, but good people far
outnumber the bad.
I’ll tell him that we can’t live our lives in fear.
I’ll tell him we must honor the victims by celebrating life
and continuing to partake in time-honored American traditions the same way they
were at the Boston Marathon when the bombing occurred.
I’ll tell him we can help by donating to the Red Cross,
making cards for the victims and for the residents of Boston, and by praying for
and thinking about everyone affected by the bombing.
I’ll tell him I hope there comes a time when talks like this
don’t have to happen.
I’ll tell him I love him and hold him close.
As I write this, Nate and the boys are in the backyard
trying to fix the trampoline. It's bent and wobbly. It looks like it is beyond
repair, but I have no doubt they will fix it.
If only everything were so easy to fix and heal…
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