It’s not a conversation you expect to have with a 2nd grader.
I was in the car the other day with my son Andrew, and my best friend’s daughter, Berkeley (yeah, like the school).
We were in the McDonald’s drive-thru (hey, I don’t just want my kids to be unhealthy) when Berkeley spoke up from the back seat:
“Are you going to get someone to watch Andrew when you die? I mean, it’s not that I want you to die, at least, not right now. I mean, I don’t want you to die at all, but when you do die, will you have someone there to watch Andrew?”
“Um. Wow. Well, uh Berkeley, that’s a great question and one that does not make me uncomfortable in the least. I’m definitely not uncomfortable right now, nor am I finding it hard to speak, even though my mouth suddenly feels as if I’ve been sucking on old sand. And the sweat dripping under my armpits has nothing to do with the non-existent panic attack I’m most certainly not having. So yeah, great question.”
(Here’s where I thought I could get away with pretending like we didn’t just engage in a dialogue about my impending death by completely ignoring Berkeley, but she’s just a teeny bit smarter than that, thanks to her equally smart mom. *Way to go Heather).
“Um, yeah Berkeley?”
“So, who’s gonna watch Andrew when you die?”
“Well honey, when and IF that ever happens, like when I’m extremely old – like ancient ruins old – then I hope that Ian will step up and help take care of his big brother someday. Ian will also be able to hire kind, hard working people to help take care of Andrew because we’ll make sure to leave him money for that very reason. And I hope that other family members will pitch in when they can. I’d like to believe that Andrew will always be with people who love him very much. Does that answer your question honey?”
“I will help take care of Andrew too.”
And with that, Berkeley proceeded to feed my son his happy meal fries – as if to drive home the point that she was very serious about her offer – while I sat behind the wheel of my car and tried hard to process what she had just said. This beautiful child, this 7-year-old little girl was ready and willing to sign up to help take care of my son someday, without hesitation, without a second thought.
It took about five seconds for the gravity of what she had just said to sink in.
Cue the ugly cry.*
*For future reference, might I suggest you refrain from engaging in the ugly cry while in the presence of young children, or any other human being for that matter. Hearing things like “Auntie Jo, you have ginormous bubbles coming out of your nose!” and “You’re getting tears in my cheeseburger!” tend to ruin the mood.
But yeah. Other than scaring the crap out of both kids while I sobbed like a wounded animal in the McDonalds drive-thru, I think the conversation went pretty well.
He’s got one more amazing person willing to go the extra mile for him.
Cue the ugly cry. Again.