Sometimes I forget that my children are just people if only smaller in size. Perhaps it's the size that makes me feel as if their problems are smaller and hence less important. But that is an unfair assessment.
On Friday we were at the preschool and I had the chance to aide in the playroom where Keila was for that day. She was happily sitting on the ground playing with a cricket - Buggy, who was less than a half an inch long, cute as far as crickets go. I was rather surprised since up until this point she's been terrified of any moving furless creature with more than four legs.
She has an Shirley Temple look from the curls that day!
A small crowd of children had gathered around her and one of the boys sitting on the tricycle watched for a moment and proceeded to tell it was gross and squashed the little guy flat. I was talking to one of the teachers when we heard a wail proceeded by , " you squashed my Buggy! You hurt Buggy!"
The boys mother was nearby and he received a sound scolding (from what I gathered, this has happened many times with his younger brother) while I tried to comfort Keila and distract her with other things.
Nothing was working and anyone who came along asking why she was crying she would tell in sobbing tones. There were various responses, anything from "I'm sorry" to " oh, it's just a bug honey". The latter would get a have Kiela heaving and crying, "he's not JUST a bug, he's my Buggy!" It took me a bit but I finally realized this was not something I could simply gloss over. It should have been more obvious to me when she tried to revive the poor thing!
I realized if something I loved died I would be devastated! never mind what the creature was, I would need to mourn in some way. So I took Keila on my lap and I asked her why she was so sad. She told me that he was hurt bad and stammered out the statement that he might even be dead. She was upset that someone could be so unkind to another creature. I tried to ease her grief by telling her that Buggy was with Heavenly Father which seemed to help a little. We then picked some rosemary and placed it in a paper cup and set it by the now two dimensional Buggy and lovingly said goodbye.
All throughout the rest of the day Keila would have moments where she was just fine and other moments where she' d break down in tears again. We tried not to focus on the negative. For instance when she told me for the millionth time of how cruel that boy was, I'd ask her instead to recount a something nice she and Buggy did together. She'd get a soft smile and say, "we played game, silly games together."
By the evenng she could talk of how sad she was without all the drama and tears, but that she missed Buggy but was glad she played with him and knew him. Now I sure some of you are thinking this got blown out of hand, after all how much could a bug really mean to a child. I just wanted a way to help her feel better and didn't think much more of it until two days later.
It was conference weekend Sunday. For those of you who are not LDS, it is a biannual event where the prophet and apostles speak on various subjects using scriptures and their testimony of the divinity of Christ to encourage us in our personal journeys to become more like our Savior. It is one of my favorite times of year because I feel spiritually fed and rejuvenated. The children mostly play but they listen more often than we know. We were eating dinner and talking about the things that we were inspired by when Keila brought up Buggy all on her own and said something to the effect of how hard it is that he's gone but that she knew Heavenly Father loved Buggy and that things dont just end when we die. I was a little floored, it was a testimony if ever I heard one and it was filled with the innocence and faith of a child.
A windy day and Isaac's brillant idea to fly a kite! Keila LOVED it and was the best at keeping that thing afloat.
I've not mentioned Buggy since, although Keila has asked if she could have a pet cricket and if we could make a cage for it to keep it safe from "mean boys with bikes", but it's been on my mind a lot. I marveled how the grief process is so very universal and I feel bad I was near to dismissing her pain simply because it was unimportant to me. It was a lesson I needed to remember. Most of all, I'm grateful that even willful stubborn children/adults can be taught and comforted by the Spirit when we seek earnestly. We all need pint-sized testimonies!
A quick shot of pint-sized Elias conference weekend, with his fruit loop necklace and pjs. One of our most favorites weekends every year!