Monday, November 12, 2007

Deft Parenting

John's putting Merrick to bed. The 12 year old baby monitor still works and from the kitchen, I hear Merrick say:

"I'm sad Thurston is dead. I'm afraid to die, Daddy."

Every maternal cell is fully loaded and vibrating. I turn up the monitor. These are delicate times, John. Frail psyches at stakes.

No reply from John.

"Daddy, do you know when you die? Do you know so you can get ready?"

John (seemingly waking up): "Uh, no. Nobody knows when you're going to die. It just happens."

WRONG ANSWER. The correct answer is: you don't have to worry about this for nearly 100 years because you die when you're very very old. And I won't die until I'm very old and I will take care of your forever and ever (because you are now just four and can't handle much Truth about painful issues of existential sort).

Merrick.: "What does it feel like, when your heart stops and you go somewhere else? What does it feel like when your heart stops?"

John: "Dazed. You feel dazed."

I just turn off the monitor and give up.


Anonymous said...

May be it's time to give the 12-year old baby monitor to good will.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I was about eight years old when I first became aware of my mortality. I remember it was evening, and I was in bed, and I sat up terrified, heart slamming. In my terror I ran to my father, who was sitting in our family room watching a baseball game on television and drinking his usual shot and beer. I asked him what it felt like to die. My father took a long, slow swig of beer, chugged back the shot, and replied very slowly and vacuously, "It's sleep, you know. A good, long, deep, deep sleep. You won't even know what hit you."

I'd like to welcome Edgar Allen Poe to the Minnesota suburbs.