Just when you thought you
A) had most of The Answers
B) have no idea what in the Sam Hill is going on
C) finally admit that you can't think on you feet for sh*t
...you get nailed by a four year old with one of Those Questions.
One of those life-pondering question that leaves you trembling like The Grinch when Cindy-Lou-Who asks, "Why, Santie Claus, why?" Remember that look? Where he's biting his nails?
Riley (who is vaguely related to me by marriage, sort of...barely at all....) asked me a really good question. Almost a stinker. Definitely a Grinchy nail-biter. His Great-Grandfather had died a little less than a week prior. We were at his Poppa's 50th surprise birthday party. (Poppa is Riley grandfather, and my step-daughter's step-dad. Follow me?) Riley had been at his Great-Grandfather's funeral, so I got the whole, "Poppy's died," thing. (Poppy and Poppa. Confused yet? I still am.)
After Riley informed me of this fact and remembered that Marty and I were there when Poppy was in the box, he asked me, "Why is everyone sad?"
Oh, that's a good one. (Where in the he** is his Mom? This is a Mom-type question. Or an Auntie-type question. Someone other than basically a perfect stranger.) He's standing there, with his big, bright eyes and cherubic hair, head tilted to one side, waiting.
This is one of those moments when you either choke and come up with the usual caveat: Go Ask Your Mom. Or your heart grows "three sizes that day" and your brain clicks into gear. You can do this. You might comes up with a good answer for a four year old.
"Well, everyone is sad because they can't hug Poppy any more or talk to him and have him answer back. They can't see him with their eyes or hear his voice with their ears. So they're sad. But Poppy is always with you. You just have to listen with your heart instead of your ears and right now, that's hard to do because they want to see him, and touch him."
Pause. He ponders this grown-up standing before him for a moment. I think his little brian was working that one out.
"Oh. OK," and the trundles off to do some little four-year old boy thing.
I can breathe again. Phew!