I Never Expected This
Two days ago, I shared this on Facebook:
Oh my. Just watched a National Geographic documentary - American Serengeti - with the kids. Luckily, no predator dining was shown (I was prepared).
However, they did show a bison that died while giving birth (both mom and calf died).
After the show was over, my daughter broke into tears. I held her and kept asking what was wrong. Eventually, she shared, "I'm said for the bison.", and buried her head back into my shoulder.
(It led to beneficial, if not difficult, conversation.)
I simultaneously LOVE and feel unbelievably challenged by having a daughter who is as sensitive as her mother.
I never expected a reaction like that. But what came next brought me to my knees.
We'd put her to bed by the time that I wrote that Facebook update. My husband called me into her room 15 minutes later, where we discovered her in bed, in tears, surrounded by pictures she had drawn of the Buffalo and her baby, taped to her bed. It included this one :
In case you can't read it, it says,
"Goodbye. I'll miss you very very much. Sorry that you died. Goodbye. I love you very much. You were the greatest buffolo ever. I am always going to care about you no matter if there is something else sad, I am always going to care about you all the time. I'll miss you. Goodbye.
To: My buffolo that I miss"
I left her room in tears, too.
We had another talk and let her sleep in our bed that night. I explained that it was fine to cry, and suggested that we have a small ceremony for the buffalo to help our hearts heal. (We'll be doing so tonight - she suggested we all just sit in a circle, pass something around, and say something nice.)
There is no parenting manual on what to do when your daughter breaks down over the death of an animal in a nature documentary.
And I'm ok with that - I'm not looking for an answer, or THE answer, on how to handle this. What I am looking for - and providing - for myself and for her, is the space to be with this. I don't want to try and pass over it quickly, to call it crazy that she'd react this way to a t.v. show, nor to make it any more than it is.
She is a Kindergartner.
She is young enough to be innocent of many of the ways of the world, but old enough to be aware of many more things than we give her credit for.
She is sensitive like her mommy, and I cringe thinking of all of the suffering she is going to know.
But she is also blessed with a sense of deeper connection that can't be taught. I think of looking back on this time, twenty years from now, when she is a veterinarian or wildlife conservationist or scientist or artist who lives on a horse farm, ...or simply when she is an adult who cares deeply about all living beings. It brings such a smile to my face.
The tears well in my eyes again when I think of the old soul that resides in that little, delicate body.
She has so much to teach me, so much to teach us all.