Last night I spent quite a bit of time with Zayd at bedtime. While his brother Ethan snoozed away next to us, I sat on the edge of Zayd's bed while he was cuddled up under the covers... and he talked... and talked... and talked. This was part of our conversation.
Zayd: Mom? Did I do something wrong?
Me: No. Why do you say that?
Zayd: I don't know. I just feel like I did something wrong.
Me: Of course you haven't done anything wrong. Did I say something or do something that made you feel that way?
Me: Did dad?
Me: Hm. Well sweetie, you haven't done anything wrong that I know of...
Me: ...is there something you want to talk about? Something that is bothering you or on your mind?
Zayd: I don't know.
Me: Okay. Well. You can talk about whatever you want to. I won't get upset with you. But you also don't have to talk if you don't want to... k?
Zayd: (sigh) I know.
I play with his hair and stroke his face... and wait.
Me: Yes sweetheart.
Zayd: I saw Mrs. Smith crying today.
Mrs. Smith (name changed) is one of his teachers.
Me: Ohh... why was she crying honey?
Zayd: I think her mom or dad died.
Me: Oh. Yeah. That is sad. That would make lots of people cry.
Me: Where did you see her?
Zayd: In her classroom. She didn't see me. I always stop by before I leave school.
Me: That's nice! You just stop by to say hi or something?
Me: That is very thoughtful of you. I bet she likes that a lot.
Zayd nods in agreement.
Me: So why do you think her mom or dad died?
Zayd: Well, in class when the phone rings she says 'This might be an emergency' and she always answers. She told us that her mom and dad are very sick.
Me: Hmmm... well that makes sense then.
Me: I will be sad when Nana and Papa die.
Zayd: Do you think Ethan will care when Nana or Papa die?
Me: Well sure he will! If he is still young when it happens, he may not understand it like you or I do.
Zayd: How can he not understand someone dying?
Me: Well... sometimes the idea of someone never coming back is hard for little kids to understand. But Ethan would be sad that he wouldn't see Nana or Papa. He just might not understand the idea of forever.
Zayd: nods in agreement.
Me: You should probably go to sleep. It's already 9:30.
Me: Yes honey bunny?
Zayd: I love you.
Me: I love you too.