Shelli keeps a sweet chronicle of the day’s events.
Here are some of my recent favorites.
At bedtime, after I tell him the names of all the people who love him, and we have a story about nighttime adventures inspired by the flight in The Snowman. Then if he is feeling anxious about being in his room alone (not wanting me to leave), I tell him that even when we’re not in the same room together, I am with him, in his heart, and he’s in my heart, and it will always be that way, forever and ever. And that’s called love. Then we list all the times this is true: day time, night time, spring time, winter time…when it rains and when it snows…And at all those times, I’m with you. And that my love for him can be seen in every perfect tree, the raindrops, in every flower, and in each graceful fish in the ocean. When the sun shines on your face, or when you sit under a huge tree, when you find a bug and when the snowflakes melt on your eyelashes. At all those times.
Sometimes I do a variation on this and talk about when you can’t see me. We talk about when he closes his eyes, and can’t see me, but I’m still with him, forever and ever, even when you grow up and have your own children. He is grappling with this idea of time, since he is starting to understand as he gets older I might be gone, away from him (like at college); he sometimes walks very slowly, “like an old person.”
This naturally leads to talking about death and all the questions that come with that abstract idea. So we had been talking about death recently, since a child came to school mentioning a relative who’d died, and I ran over (another) frog when backing out of the garage, and I told him I missed “Great Grandpa Rand.” He asked what would happen if I died, and I said it’d be like I was still here, except you couldn’t see me. When we discuss this he sometimes asks, what if you and Daddy died? “Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunt and Uncles will care for you”).
Shelli, I so enjoy reading these entries at the end of a long week. Often times she goes back and adds pictures that make it even more special. This is a book we will truly cherish for years to come.