That was the question that my almost three year old son asked me over breakfast this morning. I paused for a moment, taken aback.
“What makes you ask that, honey?” I said.
“Am I going to die?” He responded, more insistently.
“Yes, you are Sammy. So am I. Every one dies at some point in their life.”
“Well, honey, everyone is born with sin on their souls. Do you remember Adam and Eve? Well, they disobeyed God, they told Him that they didn’t want to serve Him. They sinned and that sin has been spread to everyone in their family. We are in their family. Everyone you know is in there family, that is why people get sick and die.”
“Oh.” he said, pondering what I had just told him.
“What made you think about dying, Sammy?”
“Because Mary told me, mama. She asked me to be on the cross for a few minutes.”
At this point, I am completely taken aback. . . stuttering for words I ask him, “What was Mary like?”
“Beautiful . . .she is like . . . she is Jesus mommy.”
“Yes, she is.”
“Will, I die soon, moma?”
“I don’t know Sammy.” I said fighting back tears. “I am going to do everything I can to keep you healthy and happy. I want us to have a long life together. Sometimes accidents happen and people get really bad boo boos, or get really sick. But do you know what?”
“You have God in your soul right now. When you were baptized, God came to live in you.”
“Fr. W——– baptized me? And I have God in my soul?”
“When I die Mary and Jesus will be there, she told me.”
“That would be very beautiful.” I say, unable to stop the tears welling up in my eyes. “You don’t have to be afraid.”
“Can I go play?”
“Yes, baby, you can go play now.”
A moment later, I am standing in the kitchen. Holding his sister close to my heart, feeling her head against my chest, tears roll down my face into the sink full of dirty dishes.
I don’t know if I have a toddler who is a little mystic, or just has a very active imagination. But I do know that his words have reminded me that our time together is passing by.
Some days, this whole motherhood thing seems like more of a cross than a blessing, though I suppose it is both.
So often, I wish away my time with them, counting down the hours till bed time, or the years till they will be older and I will have more time for myself, to read, to write, and just sit and think in blissful silence.
Then I realize it all could be gone in a flash. I could have all the time in the world to spend on whatever pursuits I want, but instead will spend it longing for the blessings I currently enjoy.
Our time together is precious. And exhausting. But it is so worth it all.
And so, for the rest of the day I choose to live in the moment, and savor the giggles and smiles, and drink in the excitement and energy that these little ones exude. And I am grateful and happy, just to have another day to be their mama.
Have you ever had an experience of realizing you could loose someone you love and it makes you realize how grateful you are to have them in your life? Have you kids brought up any existential conversations lately? Please tell me about it in the comments!
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I wrote this article last week, on the day it happened. Also, heads up with November being the month we Catholics remember the faithful departed, I will probably be writing a few more posts on Death (and life) in the upcoming days. I am not obsessed with death or anything, it is just on my mind a lot at this time of year.