Friday, September 25, 2009

You're gonna die...

In the spirit of the sister blog, I thought I'd immediately recount one of my all time favorite sister stories. The story actually doesn't really have anything to do with me or Hilary, but it does show Leslie in her shining glory.

In 1988 my parents rudely decided that they would be moving back to Indiana and therefore kill our glory days of sunshine in dear California. In preparation for the move they helped bring up the topic so we could all have lovely family discussions about the move and hopefully the transition would go smooth. Leslie was a little over 3 when this all was occurring and she also recently had been introduced to the concept of death and dying. Like many children she became fascinated by the topic, and actually began to be a little obsessive about it. Like a good mother my mom would discuss it with her and help clarify the concept while at the same time reassuring her in a simple child's explanation that only old people die so she didn't need to worry. But after several months of the death obsession my mom was both worried about her obsession and a little tired of the same conversation over and over. She discussed the matter with the pediatrician who reassured her that it was natural and that her obsession probably stemmed from feelings about the big move. He assured her she would grow out of it eventually and to just continue as she was doing. So she did.

My grandma thought my mom was dramatizing the situation more than it needed to, even though my mom tried to explain how creepy it was to have the little harbinger of death following her everywhere she went. Then one day we were all riding in the car singing happy children's songs (we sing a lot in our family) and enjoying a nice sunny California afternoon, when all of a sudden my dear sister pipes up with "Grandma...you're gonna die." Now this was nothing new to my mom but it did startle my grandma. My mom gave her an "I told you it was creepy" look. And my grandma did her best to be positive and reaffirming "Yes Leslie, everyone dies." To which Leslie replies "But you're gonna die first cause your OLD," which sent my mom into a fit of giggles. Then my grandma grasped what my mom had been trying to tell her.

So what put an end to it? Was it my mom's patience and loving understanding of her child's fears?

Hell no!

One day when we were discussing the move that was now right around the corner my mom was talking to Leslie and saying "Daddy is going to go get a BIG truck and we're going to put all of your toys and clothes in boxes and put them in the big truck. And then we're going to drive and drive and drive and then stay the night in a hotel and then get up in the morning and drive and drive and drive and then stay the night in a hotel again and then get up the next morning and drive and drive and drive and then we'll be in Indiana!"

And Leslie says "And then we die?"

And my mom just loses her shit at the point and shrieks "WE'RE NOT GOING TO DIE! QUIT TALKING ABOUT DYING!!!" which promptly scares Leslie right out of that phase.

Apparently not all children can be coddled through obsessions. Sometimes you just need to freak out on them and that will do just fine.

And of course, because we are hilarious, one of our key phrases that still lives on to this day is "And then we die?" Even Ange has taken up the habit and sometimes I'll be like "And then we can go to the Farmer's Market and get some stuff" to which Ange will say "And then we die?" and we'll both crack up.

3 comments:

mom said...

I think the other most effective freak out action was when I freaked out on you and beat you senseless in Wal-Mart during your pinching phase. Basically, you stopped. At least you stopped pinching me. And don't think you can start again now that I bring this up.

NY Diva said...

Why does "and then we die?" sound like something that would be from Animaniacs? You all crack me up. And now I want to say it too!

Shireanian said...

I thought of the pinching-mom-freaking-out incidence too.
And then we die? haha