Big Boy is a smart kid. He’s book smart and just smart-smart. He’s starting to ask questions and say things about James that can unmoor me in an instant.
This morning, from the backseat of the car, we were discussing what we should have for dinner. As our fridge is broken (Because we need one more thing to deal with right now. It was making a hideous grinding noise that we first heard upon opening the door from being out of town for the weekend. The crime scene fridge-side was gory in the extreme.), I told him that dinner would at least be bacon. Because we had a package of bacon that partially thawed when the freezer shut down, and now we needed to cook it.
Bacon for any meal is never a bad thing chez Fly, so we both happily pondered this for a moment. Then, Big Boy dropped the bomb.
“Mommy, did you ask God for James to be special?”
I stammered an incoherent response about how we asked God for all of our children and that we didn’t know James would be special in the way that he is and that Daddy and I love you all and weren’t we glad that we were having bacon for dinner and wasn’t having to clean out the freezer kind of fun?
And then Big Boy asked me, “Well, Mommy, did you ask for Baby Girl not to be special like James?”
And as I drove in silence, I thought about truth and lies and the things we tell ourselves to protect ourselves, and the things we tell the ones we love to protect them, and I didn’t want to lie to my son.
After that beat, I said, “Yes. We asked God for Baby Girl to be just the way she is. She’s special, but not special like James.”
From his backseat booster of wisdom, Big Boy said, “Well, God knew that James couldn’t play with me and I really needed somebody to play with, so he had to make Baby Girl like me.”
I asked him if someone had told him that, and he said no and asked me why I asked that. And I told him that it was just a mature thing to say. (And then I tried to explain maturity, which is kind of an abstract concept. I had to boil it down to “acting like a grown-up,” but that’s not wholly accurate. I wouldn’t say that explanation went as badly as the whole “God’s magic thing” on Easter, but it was close.)
What I didn’t say at the time, and I wish I had, is that I am so thankful that he and Baby Girl have each other, and that we all needed her, and that the sibling bond has been one of the great joys of my life, and I hope they are close for their entire lives. I should have said that I am renewed and delighted and filled with hope for the future when I watch them play, or when, last night, she reached out her arms to him and asked for a kiss.
But that’s all probably a bit heavy for a Tuesday afternoon car ride. There is bacon to eat, after all.