Now that we are fully entrenched in preschool, I have found myself on more than one occasion having to explain things that my child has said (or drawn) to her teachers. I am afraid that I will arrive one day to find that CPS is waiting to take her away and I want to have evidence to the contrary.
Yesterday, when I picked up the child, the teacher said, "She comes up with the weirdest things to say to me. I just don't know where she comes up with it."
I cock my head to the side, inquisitively, "Like what?" while simultaneously looking wearingly at my daughter who is trying to pull the Hubs and myself out of the door.
"Well, she was explaining to me that her Grandpa was ashes that had been burnt up, but that you keep his head in a box and his ribs in the closet?"
Sigh. This. Again.
Let me go back a bit. My father died when the Supergirl was 2 months old. 10 days later I was ordered to go on bed rest, underwent major surgery, was hospitalized for almost a full two weeks, and ordered not to do any heavy lifting for at least 3 months. They identified heavy lifting as greater than 5 pounds. The Supergirl was born weighing 9.3 pounds. It was not a good match.
Just when I was finally ready to think that life was under control again, I got two calls in the same week. One from my father's landlord ordering me to have the property cleaned out and the other from the crematorium letting me know that my father's cremains were ready for pickup.
The ashes were in a canvas totebag. It sat in the laundry room for over a year until I moved it into my closet on a high shelf out of the reach of children and pets.
Flash forward to an ordinary Sunday at our house. I am doing laundry, planning out my week, when the Supergirl says, "Momma, where's Paw-Paw?"
A good parent, a better parent would say, "Paw-Paw is in Heaven (or with God, with the dog, or even the angels)."
I said, "In the closet."
Her eyes lit up. "Can I see?"
"Sure," was my reply. I still cannot figure out why this would seem like an appropriate conversation with a 4 year old kid. I cannot figure out why I did not stop myself, why I let myself continue. I know that I broke her and no amount of therapy money is going to get back this moment.
As we walked to the closet, she rubbed her hands together eagerly. "I have never seen Death before. I am SO excited!" Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, what are you doing to this child. STOP. STOP. STOP. You can make this all stop if you just... the voice in my head just keeps on yammering, while my body keeps moving forward, closer and closer to the box.
I grab the box from it's place on the shelf and I turn to face the girl. The glee on her face turns to terror. "IS THAT HIS HEAD!?!?"
And if that wasn't enough, I say, "Nope, just his ashes" and open the box.
We got rid of the ashes a few weeks ago, a few days after his 65th birthday. Finally. But the child still believes that we have his ashes, his head, and his ribs in my closet.
And now she has taken it on as her job to inform the public.
You have now been warned.