Deep Thoughts, by Tian

Tonight, we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book we've read many times.  When the caterpillar became a butterfly, Tian said, "Like me. I will become pilot."  (Keep in mind, he signs and talks at the same time when he communicates with me. His language ability astounds me.)

I asked Travis what he wanted to become when he grows up.  Tian answered for him, "He wants to become a pilot like me."  When I asked Travis for his opinion, he agreed and refused some other options I offered him, insisting that he, too, wanted to become a pilot.

Tian asked if, when he's a pilot, "Will you see me?"  I explained that, yes, I will see him.  We will always be together.  We will be family forever, even when he's old.

He asked, "What about when I'm gone?" I told him he didn't have to worry about being "gone."  (I wasn't totally sure what he meant by "gone" and I didn't push it.)

I said, "See, Nana and Pappy are still my mom and dad. Even though they are verrrrry old (sorry, guys) and I'm a mommy, they are still my mom and dad."

Tian said, "But where are Pappy's little kids?"  I said, "I AM Pappy's little kid. And so is Aunt Laura."
Tian was silent, processing all of this information.  I added, "I'm Pappy and Nana's kid AND I'm your mom."  Tian looked totally blown away and said, "But that's different."

Joe, my dad, Dad's mom
So we pulled out some old photos from facebook. We looked at pictures of Pappy when he was a little boy.  Travis joined us for this and pointed, saying, "That's TJ!"  I said, "No. That's Pappy!"  He looked at me like he didn't quite believe me.  I said, "I'm serious! He was a little boy like you, then he grew up and is now a man."  Travis cracked up!  He then wanted to know about the other people in the photos. Those were tough to explain since my dad's brother and mom have both passed away.  Tian was already nervous about us not being together forever.  I did explain as matter-of-factly as I could that they had died and we missed them. (I used that specific word and sign for "die." No euphemisms or talk of "sleep" or "going to a better place." That would be baaad!)  Tian didn't ask what "die" meant. Whew.

The boys saw a newborn picture of me.  I was in the incubator at the hospital with the clip on the umbilical cord. He asked that that was. I explained.  Then we came to a photo taken moments after TJ was born.  He asked, "What about a picture of me when I'm born?"  I said, "I don't have a picture of you when you were first born.  I wasn't there when you were born.  Sometimes, I feel sad, because I wish I could have been there.  But I'm happy that I met you when you were two.  I'm happy God put us together.  But some of it is sad, too.  I'm sorry I don't have a newborn picture for you."

Dad's dad, my dad, Mom's dad, Travis
We moved on to a picture of my parents' wedding day. My dad was standing between his dad and my mom's dad.  I explained that these guys were Nana and Pappy's dads and that one of them was named, "T-R-A-V-I-S, same as you!"  Travis' eyebrows raised and he laughed, very pleased that they had the same name.

We looked at more family photos, then it was WAY past time for the boys to be in bed, so I scooted them along to their beds.

Tian thoughtfully came up to me and said, "I'm worried.  I don't want to grow up.  I'll become old, then lie down and be gone."  *gulp*

I hugged him and told him he didn't need to worry about that for a long, long time; that he'd always be with us, even when he's old, because we'll be with Jesus forever.  I do wonder where some of his thoughts came from.  He knows he doesn't see or know his China mom.  He asked why we didn't live in Nana and Pappy's house.  Why we don't see his other grandparents often.  To him, not living together meant "gone."  I told him that, if he wanted, he could live with us forever and ever. (Mackenzie used to wish the same thing and I made her the same offer.)  As they get older, they're able to better understand extended and immediate family, but for tonight, Tian just wanted everyone to live in the same house forever and always.

Finally, he astounded me even more by asking why his good friends don't always live with their dad and why they have a "new dad."  Yikes.  I didn't realize how much he paid attention to what was being said around him.  But we talk openly about it when he asks where his friends are.  The dad will come over and when Tian asks, our friend states the fact that the kids are at their mom's house.

Not ready to delve into the topic of divorce with Tian tonight, I just said, "They do still live with their dad and their mom, just in different houses."

Whew! Interesting conversations stemmed from a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

All I can do is pray for wisdom to answer truthfully and judiciously in a way that will be gentle to my boys.  I can't imagine the fears of abandonment that are deep in their souls.  I can only pray that God will give them peace that passes all understanding.  And I'll reassure them with every inch of my being that I will *always* be their mommy.  Forever and forever.

Travis thought it was funny that this was me and my sister. He said, "You are both happy!"


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