Today as I was contemplating one of life's big decisions, what shirt to wear today, Son approached.
Son: When I get older, will you die? And will Daddy die?
Me: Yes. But that won't happen for a long time.
Son: But I don't want to die.
Me: You're young. It won't happen for a long, long time.
Son: But Batman won't die.
Me: No. He's a superhero.
Son: I want you to be a superhero so you won't die.
Me: Okay. I'll be Wonder Woman.
Son: No, Hawk Girl.
Me: Okay, I'll be Hawk Girl and you'll be Batman and Dad will be Superman.
Son: Then you won't die.
Son: Because Dad's father died.
Son: How did he die?
And so on. On the way to school we ended up having a long conversation on the evils of smoking. That seemed easier than trying to explain death and consciousness and whatnot to a four-year-old. Isn't four a bit young to be experiencing existential angst? Middlebrow says that's what results from living with two overly self-reflective people. Great. I somehow feel responsible. In Disney movies, when someone dies (it's inevitable, it happens in every movie) I always say, "Oh, he went on vacation" or "she's taking a nap". But we've always told Son what happened to Middlebrow's father. Was that a mistake?
I knew motherhood would be riddled with these moments you can't prepare for, but I didn't think I'd be discussing death with him at age four.
I feel simultaneously young and old, either way, unprepared.