The scene: Saoirse’s room, at bedtime. We’re reading a book when Widget, the Tailless Wonder, comes slinking into the room, presumably either to say hello or complain about not having been fed yet. Saoirse squints at the cat, and then…
SK: Mom, why doesn’t Widget have a tail?
I pause, weighing my decision.
Me: Well, sweetie, she was born with a tail, but got into an accident.
Me: Well, one night, before you were born, she didn’t listen to Mommy and Daddy and ran out of the house. We wanted her to stay close, but she disobeyed us and ran away.
SK: What happened?
Me: She was hit by a car and lost her tail. That’s why we always want you to listen to us and hold our hand when we’re by a street or in a parking lot. So that you stay safe.
She gives Widget a long, quiet look, then we go back to her book.
I am a terrible mother.