Just recently, the girls were curled up on the couch together (I KNOW. It happens!), playing. They were pretending that their stuffed animals were their children, which was just the cutest thing to overhear. I was sitting on a chair nearby, comforting a red-faced, bleary-eyed Cian who has been teething since basically the day he was born, so I was in a perfect spot to eavesdrop. Then Saoirse leaned over in my direction.
“Mom, I’m going to have three children. Their names are going to be Kenna, Helen, and Sarah.”
“Quinn, when I have my babies you can come over every day to see them. Okay? You’ll visit every day.”
“And Mom, you can visit, too.” SK was quiet for a moment, thinking before she continued. “But…you’ll be a grown-up. When you’re a grown-up, will you be in heaven?”
Dear Lord, I thought, hopefully not that soon. I assured her that I would be here (gulp) to see visit her children as often as she’d like, and that I wouldn’t go to heaven until I was very old (double gulp). Then I hugged Cian a little tighter and wondered if I should start attending daily Mass.
A couple of days ago, Saoirse was sitting on the toilet (of course), chatting with me through the open door. Suddenly, she asked, “Mom? Is Santa Clause real?”
She’d had a new friend over to play an entire month and a half before that, and during that time–which I just found out about while SK was killing time on the potty–her new friend spilled the Grinch-y beans. I stalled for time for a split second, glad she couldn’t see my face, then took a deep breath and lied to my five-year-old: of course Santa is real. And, in not so many words: her friend didn’t know she was talking about. Don’t pay her any mind. And then I wondered if I should add daily confessions to the new church routine.
Saoirse started asking the “big” questions when she was three. The questions got bigger and bigger as the months have rolled by. Pretty soon she’s going to figure out that I don’t have all the answers. One day she’ll know that I was bluffing my way through many of them. But until then, I’m going to assure her when I can, tell a small fib when the occasion calls for it, and hold on to her innocence for as long as possible.
And in the meantime? I think I might start saying a rosary or two. I’m gonna need all the help I can get.