Sometimes children say the darndest things. Sometimes children are so much wiser than their tender age.
I began working at a local elementary school about two months ago. I mainly interact with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. It's interesting to see what a seven-year old's world view is, what their concept of reality is. I have had many children ask: how old are you? are you married? do you have any kids?
The first two are easy. I don't mind sharing my age with seven and eight year olds - they have no concept of age and think 26 is old anyway. They are probably beginning to to place age and roles in boxes (ie -at 15 you are in high school, at 25 you are married with children). A good number of the children will respond, "My mom is 26, and she has thee kids." Good for her, kiddo, go for her... That's usually how I respond, too, "Well, that's cool."
About two weeks ago I had this same conversation with a first grader. And for some reason I just decided to tell her. I was interested to see how a seven year old would process the information. Here is how our conversation went:
"Ms. Wiggly, do you have a husband?"
"Do you have any kids?"
"... Well, I had a baby, but he died."
"Why?" (Duh, should have seen that coming..)
"Well, because he's waiting for me in heaven now."
"How big of a baby was he?"
"Just a tiny baby."
"That happened to my brother. My older brother died when he was just a tiny baby. He's waiting for me in heaven, too."
Gosh, it just made my day - my week - for several reasons.
1) She didn't cry.
2) She processed it well.
3) Something like this had happened to her family.
4) Most importantly, something like this had happened in her family before she was born and her parents made a conscious decision to tell their later daughter about her big brother.
5) She called him "my big brother." I love that she referred to him as a member of her family.
It was so refreshing to have told a student. Not that she remembered ten minutes later, but still. I had shared with a student and it hadn't backfired. If you'll recall, I have had some issues sharing about Noah with the wrong people in the past. She had not only taken it well, but had a story to share with me. It made me feel a little bit more normal, and it gave me hope. A tragedy had happened to her family, and while I do not know the details, her family (probably) grieved, still grieves, and continued to believe in having a family.
Because when it comes down to it, it's worth it: the terror of losing another child is worth it for the gain of having a child. Children are worth it.