Most parents should only have to worry about the dreaded "where do babies come from?" question and etc. I have always been honest with Natalie. If she asks something I tell her the truth. Well, ok, maybe I fudge on a few certain topics, where Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are concerned... but I really do try to be honest with her. Not that she needs all of the details about every aspect of life. But honesty has always been my policy. I want to know the truth, why would I deny that to my kids?
But what happens when I don't what to say?
Last night as we were driving home we stopped by the substation before Derek's shift started and talked to him in the parking lot. As we drove away, Natalie says to me "I don't want to be a police officer when I grow up. I want to do a safe job, one where people don't get shot."
Feeling a bit of a lump in my throat, I try to turn to a positive outlook. I tell her that police officers are very safe and they keep us safe (although, don't get me wrong, that's a career path I'd prefer none of children choose). She starts asking me questions... about what happened to Brian, what happened to Derek.
I try to be as simple and honest as I can, like I said I want to be honest, but she's only 6 years old. The last thing I want to do is scare her.
Then she says it.
She asks me "Why?"
She asks me "Why?"
"Why would some bad man do that?"
A million thoughts are racing through my head. I want to scream, I want to cry. Why is my first husband dead? Why did someone attempt kill my second husband?
I don't know WHY???
I don't think I ever will.... But my daughter is asking me. Maybe I should have sheltered her more. I want to protect her. I don't want to see her hurt.
I will never forget when I had to tell her what happened. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I remember where I was, sitting, in an arm-back chair in my parents living room. Thanks be to God (and April) that she spent the day with a great friends, and she had fun. She dressed up, and played. She didn't have any of the pain or hurt that I did.
I remember it, but I remember it in a fog. She walked into the living room, she'd had a bath and she was wearing Eva's pj's. She ran up to me and she was happy to see me. She was happy we were spending the night at Grandma and Poppas house.
Then I told her.
Here we are 4 years later. And she asks me "why?"
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, she is a smart kid. She is so inquisitive, so caring, so giving of herself. I thank God for her everyday. I want to teach her well.
I don't really remember what I said to her last night. But I know I didn't kick and scream like I felt like doing, and I remember her replying back to me "if there are bad people, we should pray for them, then maybe they won't be bad."
I want to teach her to forgive. To be the bigger person. In all aspects of life. People will hurt you, they will say and do hurtful things. Set a better example. Never lower yourself to their level, rise above it.
But how do I even do that in this situation? I'm not sure I can ever forgive, for a life that was taken away. And a daughter that lost her father at the age of 2.
So I pray about it.
All any mother wants for her children is for them to be "ok". I was worried about that last night. Did I say the right thing? Do the right thing?
Then today, when we were driving back to the school after the field trip, we hit a red light at 119th and Kellogg. Natalie looks over to Resthaven and says "Hi Daddy! I love you."
I look in the rear view mirror. Natalie's friend Mary is looking at her. Natalie tells her about her Daddy. Mary looks over towards Resthaven and says "Hi Natalie's Daddy!" and they start talking about something else.
She's proud of him. As she should be, as I want her to be.
I look back at this last year past. And this last September 28th past. We celebrated life. We celebrated Brian's life. We celebrated Derek's life.
As any mother, all I want, is what is best for my children. I want them to have the best life possible.
It's funny, I look at this and realize, my girls are the ones teaching me what life is all about.