Molly has been interested in death for a while, especially the exact time that certain people will die. A recurring question from Molly is, “When is (some person) going to die?” She finds the honest answer, “I don’t know,” unsatisfying. So she takes a guess at it herself. Sometimes the person is scheduled to die next Friday, or say, 20 days from now. But her favorite prediction is today at 6:00! (cue the scary music).
Molly did this to her mom a couple of weeks ago. She said, “Mommy is going to die today at 6:00.” She said it in a very calm way, like “It’s going to rain today.” Fortunately, Kit survived that day alive and intact. Molly did it to me this morning. “When are you going to die, Daddy?” I offered up, “I don’t really know, hopefully a long time from now.” Molly said she was pretty sure I would not live past “today at 6:00.” Eventually I talked her into “50 years from now”, and Molly concurred. “Ok, we can do that,” she said.
We have had several conversations about death with Molly, and she still seems to think it is little more than a brief inconvenience and of little concern. We have made it clear to her that when you die, you go away and never come back. Molly does not seem very concerned about this, the central tragedy of life, the unescapable fate of all people. It must be nice to be four years old, in this way at least.
On a slightly related note, about death, we had a laugh in the car the other day driving back from a weekend trip to Houston. Molly, wiped out from the trip, fell asleep in the car on the drive home. Kit asked Claire to keep an eye on Molly and make sure she was “okay”, meaning “still alive”. This fear probably goes back to the fear of SIDS, when a newborn baby quietly dies in her sleep. It is a terrifying fear that parents have for their little babies. But Molly is pretty sturdy now. Claire checked on Molly, asleep in her car seat. Claire laughed and said, not as a challenge but just as an observation, “What’s she going to do, Mom, just fall over dead all of the sudden?” The way Molly talks, maybe that was a possibility. I bet Molly was glad that we did check on her, at least before 6:00 today!
By the way, I am tagging this entry with both the keywords “funny” and “death”. I am pretty sure this is the first and last time for that combination.