Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Growing up. Fast.

When Mallory was a baby we would sit with her and repeat the coos and gurgles she'd give us. When she was 1 we would clap and cheer with each new sign or new word. When she turned 2 we watched in amazement as she was able to communicate with the world around her. When she turned 3 we were impressed with her ability to make just about anybody smile with her wise beyond her years vocabulary.

In the last two days, at the ripe old age of 3.5, Mallory has had a few lessons that only a "big kid" would need to hear and comprehend. We took a trip up to visit Brent's extended family in Ashland, Wisconsin. Mallory heard Brent say "My Grandma doesn't have Trouble (her dog) anymore does she?" And I told him that she did not, he had died a few years ago. Mallory piped in and the questions began to flow... I knew this conversation would come at some point. We talked openly about why people die and where they go. We kept it at a 3 year old level. Raw. She told us she didn't want to go to heaven. Would she be there by herself? Will you and Daddy go to heaven? Who will take care of us when we are there? To be honest as much as we didn't want to talk about it, I knew we needed to. I knew we needed to answer her questions as simply as we could. She seemed satisfied with our answers and as quickly as she was interested in the subject she lost that interest just as quickly. Hearing her little 3 year old voice ask about getting old along with the little bit of fear and sadness she had as she asked the questions about such a deep topic, made my heart heavy. We cannot protect her from sadness of death and that is hard for a parent to swallow.

Our second "big kid" talk came this morning when Brent realized we hadn't done Mallory's homework and preschool was just an hour away from starting--crap! What terrible parents :) This week's homework was to discuss and practice what would happen if you ever had a fire in your house. She had a fire drill at school last week so she knew a little bit about what to expect. When we sat down with her she sat on my lap and piped in "stop, drop and roll" if you are on fire. Yikes...this is true but let's hope you are never on fire.... We showed her what the fire alarm sounds like. We told her if it was at night she needed to get out of bed, touch her door and if it was not hot, she should open it and go out the patio door and meet us at our meeting spot. She looks at me with her big blue eyes as they are filling up with tears and says "All by myself?" I had to look at her, keep my composure, and tell her that "Yes you are a big girl and you need to be able to get outside by yourself if there is ever a fire." Brent walked her downstairs and showed her exactly what to do and where to meet.

She was brave, but so scared. I couldn't take that fear away. Why? Because this is life and she is growing up.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go smile and coo at Mikayla, hoping to forget that she too will grow up way too fast.

1 comment:

Amanda Jean said...

Did you do some practice runs? If not...for a lot of us, sometimes fear comes with the unfamiliar. If you can put her in her bed, let the alarm sound, and have one of you stand outside the door to tell her whether or not the door's hot, she can "practice" and perhaps it won't seem like such a scary idea anymore. And then, of course, have the other 1 of you and Mikayla waiting out at the meeting spot :) I pray it's something you'll never have to put into play, but it's good that you have a meeting spot and she knows the "drill." I remember having fear as a child because I DIDN'T know the drill, and every time I brought it up, the plan changed...

Now when can I get my hands on those little peanuts of yours? You and Brent must need a night out one of these days, right?