Thursday, February 03, 2011

NOT the conversation I thought I have to have with my kids.

In the past few years, I have had many a dreaded conversation with my kids.  In my mind the "sex" talk would be the one that I thought I would dread most, but really, it was relatively easy.  Back in early 2007, I had "THE TALK" with the boys, which stemmed from the fact that I was pregnant with Renee.  Really, it was a great time to have the chat, as it was all very matter-of-fact, and to them we could very well have been talking about kneecaps instead of the applicable boy and girl parts needed to make a baby. 

All the parenting books (at least the couple that I did actually read), said that you answer *just* enough to satisfy their curiosity.  I just didn't really bank on Nick's curiosity.  At three years old he could have given an anatomy lesson to the local high school kids and explained all the ins and outs (pardon the pun) of making a baby.  Even now he'll randomly ask about babies being made, eggs, name it, he's asked.  In fact, when he started Kindergarten last year I had to take his teacher aside and explain to her that Nick just might bring up the topic of babies at circle time.  "Oh, that's nice" she said.  I then went on to tell her that it would be the baby making that would be the discussion item and I got an "OH".  Didn't help that she was a constant reminder as she was eight months pregnant!

Overall, the sex talk has been easy.  The death talk - not so much.

Up until a year ago, the only real direct exposure to death for the boys were the three successive goldfish we managed to kill one summer.  We have had family members pass away, but the kids didn't really know them that well.  They just knew that mommy and daddy were very sad, and that someone we loved very much had died.  Then last year, one of Ethan's best friends dad had a stroke and suddenly died.  He was in his mid 30's.  That was one of the most difficult conversations to have with the kids.  They just didn't understand why he would die because he wasn't old.  He wasn't sick.  He spent a day with the boys the week before and fed them full of donuts.  The boys wondered what their friends would do without their dad.  Luckily Ethan's friend got alot of counselling through the school, and some of those sessions Ethan was involved with as well.  It was funny the way it worked - the counsellor at the school is a man, and he would have boys come in and they would all play ping pong and just talk.  I don't think the boys realized it was "counselling" per se, which in some ways was a good thing.

Just a few days ago, one of Ethan's friend's mom died.  She had been sick for awhile with cancer, but she was young.  When I told the boys of her death they both asked if I was going to die.  They asked if I am going to get cancer.  They worried about who would look after her boys (she has three).  That is alot for young kids to process, and I am willing to bet that there are many more questions they have that they just haven't asked.  Every time they hear of someone having cancer, they assume they are going to die.  That is another conversation that has been a hard one - because many family friends and relatives have died of cancer.  I have really tried to think about the positive and explain to the kids that yes, some people die of cancer, but lots of people beat it. 

I am truly thankful that I haven't had to deal with the trauma of losing a parent, a spouse or a child.  Losing friends that are your age is hard enough.  Losing very special loved ones is brutal.  But having said that, I can't even imagine what the families of my boys friends have had to (and are still) going though. 

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