My husband leaves for his deployment on 9/11.
Oh sweet irony.
I've been feeling a bit sorry for my own self that I completely forgot to discuss it with my daughter.
It's not that I've been purposely avoiding it says the former therapist who tends to get her ass kicked my Freud on a regular basis.
I'm all for discussing everything that I possibly can with my daughter in a matter of fact sort of way, mostly because my parents told me nothing about anything and I attribute at least 3/4 of my therapy to that simple fact.
Plus, I don't want her to get some kindergarten (or kindergarten teacher) definition of sex, drugs, or 9/11.
Too bad it was a little late for that last one. Although the strongly edited Catholic sensitive five-year-old version wasn't that far off.
So over dinner a few days ago, we explained everything that went down on 9/11.
These talks are never easy, but add in my husband's penchant for using big words, slang, and analogies and it becomes a bit more complicated.
"We let our guard down" he said. "And they took advantage of us."
Blank stares from the peanut gallery.
Try again, dear.
She asked question after question, quizzing us about the details. Even the gory ones. And we let her ask.
"So are the men who flew the planes being punished?" she wanted to know.
"Well, they're dead" I replied. My husband glared.
He'd just as soon gloss over all those parts.
"Did children die on the planes, Daddy?"
"NO!" "YES!" - we answered at the same time.
It's hard to know what is too much to say.
"It's because of 9/11 that I have to go for my extra long trip in a week" he said.
How's that for a segue?
"I don't want you to die!" she exclaimed, completely out of nowhere, tears streaming down her face.
We did our best to reassure her that he'd be safe and lots of men with guns ("100 soldiers!" she decided upon) would keep their eye on him.
It shouldn't have to be like this.
The next day she asked me what happens when people die.
"We turn into dust" I replied. "Some people believe we come back again, like a baby, and other people believe we go to heaven."
"In school we believe in heaven."
I don't deny hope that heaven gives people who are trying to deal with a lost loved one. It makes sense to believe that they go to a better place. It reassures and soothes us when we're otherwise distraught.
I told her so.
"I don't want to die, Mommy" she cried. "I want to be like magic and live forever."
I can't disagree with her.
"So let's focus on living," I said. "And all the amazing things we get to do and see."
"I want to see the world, Mom. I want to travel everywhere before I die."
"So then you shall, Goose," gulping back tears.
She'd always been my serious, sensitive child from as early as I can remember.
"Just promise me one thing mommy," she choked through her sobs. "When I'm older and I'm a mommy and I have kids, you'll come to see me."
"Every day. If you'll have me."
It'll be a long two months while my husband is gone. But the more he's gone, the more I'm learning to cherish the moments when it's just the four of us.
Two months compared to a lifetime.
I think we'll be just fine.