Explaining Easter is a tough one. MP understands the basics … Christmas is when Jesus was born, and Easter is when he died. She knows how he died. I don’t, however, quite know how to explain the resurrection. I tried once, saying Jesus died and three days later came back, but came up empty when she questioned why her dad didn’t come back after HE died. Now I’m afraid she’s under the impression Jesus was a magician who could perform great tricks.
Easter aside, she’s been especially obsessed with death for months — solemnly reminding me of my mortality while pointing out in a startlingly matter-of-fact manner, that Poppy’s going to die; that Grammy’s going to die; that I’m going to die; that flowers and trees and grass and pets are going to die; and that even she’s going to die. She tells me she wants to take Leopard, her beloved stuffed animal, to Heaven with her. And she wants to know what she can bring her dad when she makes the trip. I know it’s a perfectly normal developmental stage. I recognize that her attitude is probably very healthy. But listening to her talk about her own death is unsettling. I find myself worrying about that far too much as it is.
Of course, with this early understanding of death comes the need for reassurance that I’ll be around awhile. That I won’t die for a very, very long time. That people only die when then get very old. These things I tell her, although I know, of course there are no guarantees. These things I tell her, because I remember that fear as a child. The difference is, I had both parents. If something were to happen to one, I knew I’d still have the other. MP doesn’t have a back-up, and I imagine that fear is very real to her.
And when my own fear gets the better of me, MP reminds me to concentrate on the here and now. During our egg hunt yesterday morning, we came across some small tracks in the snow. Grammy and I enthusiastically seized the opportunity.
“Look MP! Tracks! In the snow! The Easter Bunny must have crossed right over the frozen pond! Look! Look!” we cried.
And MP? She reminded us to stay the course.
“Come on guys, let’s not worry about the tracks. We have eggs to find.”