A couple days after my mother in law’s funeral, our youngest daughter came to me with tears in her eyes. She had been noticeably quiet and understandably depressed in the week since her grandmother had fallen ill.
My heart broke instantly at the very sight and I lifted her up into my lap. Two little arms wrapped around me as she clenched tiny fistfuls of my shirt and buried her face into my chest and sobbed pitifully. I held her for a long while and rocked back and forth until she began to calm down and a fragile, wavering voice, broken by sniffles, came out of her trembling little body.
“Why did grandma have to die?”
I could feel the tears welling in my own eyes. It was the moment when I was expected to tell her that God calls us all home eventually. I was supposed to tell her about angels and the cycle of all living things and that her grandmother would be forever watching over her. I decided to utilize this experience as a teaching moment.
I lifted her slowly from my chest, holding her tiny wet face in my hands and looked deep and sincerely into her tearful blue eyes.
“Because you wouldn’t eat your broccoli, honey.”
Then I slowly turned my gaze toward the little cage where her hamster lay sleeping and calmly looked back at her with an eyebrow raised.
Parenting. Done. Right.