“That fly is sleeping mommy” said in a tone I can not distinguish as question or statement. It is like she knows it is not sleeping but is not yet ready to be grown up enough to hear the alternative. Yes, I nod, peering over at the fly in the window sill. Mental note- remove fly during nap time. I am not yet grown up enough to explain death to my child.
“What happened to my sunflower mommy?”
“It died” my mouth blurts before my brain can edit.
“Because, umm, flowers die and they don’t live forever, umm, especially in vases in the house, ummm, and oh really especially not in mommy’s care, umm, no, I mean, no, umm, Mommy doesn’t kill things, ummm, I mean she doesn’t make them die, urrr, sleep, ummm, flowers start as seeds, in the dirt, and uh, sun and water make them grow into beautiful flowers and then bees and birds come and pollinate them, urr, eat from them, well they help them to spread and grow and then wind and snow and cold and people with red thumbs (opposite of green), make them die but urr, that is okay because that is called a life cycle and ummm, things die and then in the spring come back to life but well, no, not everything comes back to life, like flies don’t, and humans, errr, I mean, well yes people die but not mommy, well, umm, she will but not for a very, very long time, ummm, I think, we hope, errr, well there is Heaven anyways, and Hell but I think mommy will visit Heaven, if there is one, what I mean is there are souls and energy and I will always be with you, but no, not in a creepy ghosty haunting you sort of way, more like a comforting presence sort of way, ummm, but I mean, well, ummm, errrr, hasn’t daycare taught you about existentialism yet…
I gasp for a breath. Then look for Kaya who has ignored every word I said except for ‘Because’ because at this point she seems to think ‘because’ is a valid answer and has happily continued on with her smelly felts.
“Will you draw with me mommy?”
“Sure” I agree. Yes, crafting I can do. “What do you want to draw?”
“Skull and Bones!”
Skull and Bones in Pink Watermelon it is. That I can handle.
A 20 foot pair of legs and an equally enormous axe are standing at the side of the road.
Yes, my brain processed that right. No body. No head. The torso-less Giant stands before us. I check the rearview mirror to see if Kaya has noticed and quickly realize I am going to have to do some quick thinking. Her jaw has dropped. Her wide eyes and crinkled brow make her look E.T.-like. She has waved hello to this roadside attraction almost every day since it was erected this summer. She loves the Giant. But not this. Not the body-less version.
“I don’t like Giant tipping over” she quivers. “He needs to stand tall again. He needs to have fixed.”
For the next 2 days she brings up the Giant. “I don’t like him tipping over.” she keeps repeating trance-like. “I don’t wanna go that way.” Anything to avoid passing by the decapitated beast. I can not blame her. He is creepy. I wonder what goes through her head. Did he axe himself in half? Did he just bend too far? Can I break like that too? Poor girl.
So I do what any good mother would do. I take her to the info centre where he is located and have a good close look. She squints her eyes shut as tight as she can and defiantly turns her head in the opposite direction. This is going to be a good month’s therapy for sure. I might even pay for this one.
We go inside to ask the workers what happened to the giant. It’s very hush-hush and nobody wants to talk. What they will say, in coded double talk and whispered mumbles, is that something crude befell him, he is being fixed, and he should be back soon. Kaya and I sit down for a snack and talk intellectual. On her own, she has taken from it all that Giant is sick. He has gone to visit his mommy so that she can make him feel better and then he will come home and wave hello again. All day she is now repeating “I like the Giant tipping over!”
My work here is done… Well okay, until she wakes from her nap and we begin ‘the talk’ of pumpkin guts, screeching bats and bloody zombies.