Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh Brother.

It's funny how sometimes unrelated events get tied together and how simple words evoke certain feelings. I had a conversation with a girlfriend this past week about tumors and such. We talked about Lily's size and how when I was pregnant with her, her abdomen was discovered to be unusually large and they monitored us closely for the last couple of months of pregnancy. I have often wondered if the tumor was there then, waiting. We'll never know. That led to a conversation about my dad and brother and the various tumors in my family. I sometimes forget that there are little ears listening and processing.

This weekend we called grandma to chat. Lily waits patiently for her turn(read as: jumping up and down screeching "I wanna talk to gramma next!"). She gets her turn and I always am amazed at what she deems important to tell grandma about. Sometimes she goes around the room describing things, sometimes she tells of atrocities that have happened to her at the hands of her siblings, and sometimes she just sings. Often she walks away and I forget she has the phone until I suddenly remember and hope she hasn't laid the phone down somewhere while she plays. Nope not this time. She opens the conversation with : My mom's brother had a rock in his head! He died. He's dead. 

I look in horror to my angelic child who is so proud of her declaration and is grinning ear to ear. Not only did she use two different tenses of a word correctly, It's like she just figured out a great mystery well before her years and wants everyone to know. I wonder how mom is faring on her end..I don't get the chance to ponder that as Lily announces " My mom's dad had a rock in his head too." She gently pulls the phone away from her ear and places her little hand over it- "Your dad is dead right?"  I nod slightly as she returns to her conversation "Yeah, he's dead too."  She then launches into a discussion about something entirely unrelated and gives each of her siblings a turn talking. By the time I get to talk with my mom, I have forgotten the incident although later it cause me much pontification. 

It finally dawns on me, one of Phil's brothers' birthday was this past weekend. Last week we were talking about it in the car one day ( we talked about making cards- it never did happen) and Lil Phillip asked which uncle. I told him and he said- Is he a pilot?  Nope- he's gonna be a brain surgeon.  Phillip pondered that for a moment and looked sad.  "It would have been nice if he would have been a surgeon when your dad and brother had their tumors".  I am always amazed at the combined simplicity and complexity of children's thoughts. We had a pretty indepth discussion on tumors and surgery and the trickiness of brain tumors. Lily looked puzzled and says- " Uncle Bob had a rock in his head?"  Yep.  "But he held me when I was a baby. Did he have the rock after that? "  No honey, he had the rock when I was still a kid, he died before you or Phillip were born. "So he's dead?"  Yes. "And your dad had a rock too?" Yes. She ponders. "Uncle Bob held me. He did."  She has that look of determination that often ends in a fit.

I don't argue with her. I've learned that there is no sense in it when she is adamant. I have also learned that she is often right, I just don't understand what she is trying to tell me.  I understand what she is saying, but I interpret it with years of experience. The problem is that she is saying it through a 4 year old mouth- there is no veil of political correctness. There is no concern for how uttering certain words like death may cause twinges of emotion. Because in a 4 year old mind- death is the equivalent of sleeping. They don't have permanence. Maybe her thought processes aren't so random after all, maybe they are very purposeful. Sometimes it's not how we see things, but more about how things are seen through other people's eyes. And sometimes we learn that sometimes when you see things as they are, it's really not so complicated at all.

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Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)