This afternoon while at the pool, J told me to put out my arms as she was going to jump into them. I obliged for some reason, but quickly regretted it, as her weight put quite a strain on my back. I grimaced in pain, which made J feel bad, and she immediately said, "I don't want to get older. I just want to stay like this," amid tears. She then went on to say that she does not want to grow up and that she wants to always live with us. I told her, as I have before, that of course she can always live with us, but I also said that when she is a teen, she probably won't want to be near us. Then she will go on to college and have fun and again won't think home is so great. Eventually she may find someone to marry, and she will want to be with that person. And she may one day have kids and will love them as much as I love her and they will be whom she wants to be with.
Her response to this? "But when I have kids, you'll be dead." Sheesh, girl, it's not as if I am 60 or 70 now!
It is hard to reason with a child when she gets like this, and I don't pretend to have all the answers. Or any of them, really. She also asked what if heaven is not a nice place and the devil comes to take her/us? (Note to self, find out what the school is teaching her about the devil; or maybe she just has been paying attention at church.) I explained that the devil probably wants only the bad people, the ones who kill others and do other really bad things. And, of course, she asked how I know this, and how I know what heaven is like.
I don't know it. I just think it/this. Sometimes, anyway.
When Jordan was younger, I told her we (her family) would all die then walk into heaven at the same time. Was that a bad idea to do that? I don't think so. I wanted to ease her into death, and I started with that. I am not sure if that came before or at the same time I told her that only old people died. Then I stopped hiding the harsh realities of the world from her, at least some of them.
Some days when things get rough, I tell myself that there had better be a heaven, a better place, because this world is so sad and broken. I don't say this in a complaining, negative way. I truly try to be positive, look on the bright side, and count my blessings. But it just seems as if you can't go a day or more without reading about a shooting or someone lying about something. Forget the poor economy, the plethora of natural disasters, diseases and illness, and constant fighting/division in the world. If this place is as good as it gets, well, I just don't even want to think about it. But having faith in the afterlife (and my faith is not exactly strong, unfortunately) gives me hope. It reminds me that when I can't understand why this or that is happening, it is okay, because I am not meant to. I just have to keep trying to do the right thing to get to the right place.
Hopefully, J will be off this kick for awhile, because I don't see myself coming up with any satisfying answers. But I know this discussion (and angst) will come back; it always does. But I guess I can take solace in the fact that she now wants to be with me forever. I am afraid in the not-too-distant future, she will not feel that way.
Yeah, kid, I don't want you to grow up either.