Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Death and Politics

I just love the way Grace's thoughts meander during our conversations. Tonight, we were enjoying a "mommy and me" night together as Meghan and Daddy had gone off to watch a UWM Panthers basketball game.

As we enjoyed our dinner, Grace gleefully stuffed rice into her mouth as she said, "Mommy, I'm going to miss you when you die. I love you so much."

My first reaction was to chuckle as this didn't seem to be typical dinnertime conversation around the B family dinner table, but it made me smile nonetheless. Afterall, what mommy doesn't thoroughly enjoy having a child's unabiding love?

"Why are you laughing Mommy?"

Whoops, busted... :)

"Well Gracie, it makes me so happy that you'll miss me when I die and go to Heaven, but I really don't think you need to worry about that. I'm not sick and I'm not awfully old. You and I will have time together before I go off to Heaven."

"You ARE old Mommy."

Sigh. I forgot what it feels like to be five, almost 6, with a plethora of your lifetime ahead of you. I especially forgot how it felt to believe that...shock of all shocks...35 is so incredibly old. Aw, to be a child again...

"I'm not that old Grace. I'm not even old enough to be president of the United States yet."

"What is principal?"

"Do you mean president, Grace?"

"Uh huh."

"You have a principal at your school. He is in charge of the school. Well, a president is in charge of the United States where we live."

"Oh. Can a girl be president?" Aha, that's my girl. My heart swelled with pride. I've been working hard to teach her that women are just as capable and deserving as men are.

"Oh yes, a woman can be president. We haven't had one yet though."


"There are a lot of reasons why, but I think we will have a woman president while you are alive Gracie. I don't know who it will be, but I'm hoping that it happens because it will help little girls like you to know that they can be leaders and help people in our country.

Right now, there is a lady running for president. Her name is Hilary."

"What is running for president?"

"In our country, the people who want to be in charge...to be president...work hard to tell people that they want to be president. This is called running for president."

"I think you should be president, Mommy." More heart swelling with pride. :)

"Well Gracie, I'm not old enough to be president yet. You have to be 36 to be president. Daddy is old enough."

"Why do you have to be that old?"

"Well, the people who made our country wanted the president be wise so they made that rule. People who live a long time are often called wise or smart because they have lived a long time and learned a lot. The people who made the United States thought that 36-year olds would be smart enough, but even people who are 100 can be president."

"One hundred! That is really, really old."

"Yes, it is."

"Who is our president right now?"

"George Bush is our president, but his job is almost done. You can only be president for a total of 8 years. Now there are people running for president so that when George Bush is finished, we'll have a new president."

"Eight years! That is a long time." I suppose it is a long time in the lifetime of an almost six year old. That made me chuckle.

"Yes, it is. Right now, there are three people who are running for president. They are Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain."

"Barack! That is funny name. Why does he have that name?"

"Because his mommy wanted to name him that, Grace."


"There are lots of different names for people. Barack Obama is a fine name just like Hilary or John, the other people running for president. We should never laugh at someone's name."

"Okay Mama. I want to vote for the person you want to vote for."

"Well Grace, I hope you vote for the person you choose when you grow up. It is important for you to make your own decision about how to vote."

"Oh. After dinner, can I watch a Barbie DVD?" There it was: our first conversation about death and politics, and it was over in the flash of a thought in Grace's brain.

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