Kids in cars…always a great time to listen in on their conversations and encourage interaction. I love the rare opportunity when I only have one child in the backseat, me alone in the front, and it’s an intimate one on one time in which they usually let go of any inhibitions and fire off all of their burning questions. Cameron, who usually lets Cassie take the lead, is especially talkative during those special drives. He is one minute younger than her and she will forever be the leader.
Those moments aside, the two of them together can be just as fascinating. Listening to two little people, each with their own opinions and thoughts, try to figure out the ways of the world is amazing. Often I won’t correct them if they say something wrong because I know it’s part of their journey and they will come to figure it out on their own. Sometimes it’s best to let kids be kids. (Except when they add an extra “ed” onto words. I always correct that. It drives me nuts and I think they do it more than most little ones. It’s a bad habit that needs to be changeded…)
Recently we were in the car and Hozier’s song Take Me To Church came on. I’m sure you’ve heard it. I have many, many times…
Cassie, singing along to the words, abruptly stops and says, “Mom, what’s church?
I could not say it’s something I don’t believe in. I do believe in it for those who feel the need to follow and believe. I was raised fairly Catholic. Baptism, first communion, confirmation…all that stuff that involves cake and money in cards. As I got older, I chose to take a slightly more Lutheran path because I felt being lectured in the do’s and dont’s of marriage and family seemed more acceptable if done by someone who had the right to experience that him or herself. All of my children were baptized but after the twins’ baptism I stepped away and haven’t gone back.
I consider myself spiritual. I pray, and no, not always for myself or my own needs. I do it on my own time, my own terms. In the last year, attempting to do some soul searching and to maybe find guidance through tough times, I walked back into a church or two, and cried between the front doors and the last pew. I couldn’t go any further.
So, that afternoon in the car, when Cassie asked what church was, I asked what she had heard so far. (Like the sex talk…by the time your 10 year old son comes to you with the big questions, he has already formed his own thoughts, terminology, and opinions, guided by the help of an older sibling or friend.) She said she didn’t know anything. Hmmmmm.
I asked her why we celebrate Christmas. Her response, as taught by me, was to be close to and spend time with family. My older boys know about the Lutheran/Catholic beliefs of God, and Jesus, and Christmas and Easter but just the basics and enough to let them form their own opinions when they get older. I guess I hadn’t laid the little foundation for the twins yet.
So, I asked if she knew what heaven was. She did not. (Guess we never watched All Dogs Go to Heaven. Is it on Netflix?) What’s an angel? They have wings…phew. Progress.
I explained to her that many people believe God created our world, and he had a son, Jesus, and Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. I said people saw Jesus because he was here on earth but God was not. God is in heaven, which is where we go when we die, but nobody really knows where heaven is. God is waiting for us, watching over us, helping to keep us safe. Church is the place where people go to talk to God and hear stories about him.
“Oh, ” she said.
“Do you think you understand?” I asked.
“Yeah . God is like Santa, ” she said. “And angels are like elves.”
Cassie lost her first tooth this week and has told me for a while now she doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy. Cameron has tried to put her in her place, declaring the tooth fairy is real and he can prove it since he’s already two teeth down. When I asked her who takes the teeth and leaves the money she matter of factly said she thinks mommies and daddies do…mostly mommies…and when she loses a tooth she wants money and a whistle under her pillow. The tooth fairy left a standard first tooth $5 but did not have a whistle on hand.
Today, while driving, Miss Cass asked if she could share her dream. I said yes and she proceeded to tell me she dreamt the tooth fairy was in her room and taking her tooth. I asked her what she looked like and she replied, “Like a mommy.”
Oh, crap. I have a feeling she’s not going to just accept the babies grow in a belly explanation of where do babies come from for much longer. Maybe I’ll just tell her God puts them there…like Santa puts presents under the tree at Christmas.