Last night while we played a game called "guess how much I love you," my 4-year-old said,
"I love you so much that when you die, I want to die, too."
I said, "I want you to live a long and happy life, even if I die."
She said, "But wouldn't it be better if we can be together and talk in Heaven?"
This girl is heavy. I could only smile at that sentiment, and say gently, "We don't know when that will happen."
Suddenly her face changed, crumpled, and she grabbed my hand. "I don't want to die!"
I wanted to hold her against my body and promise that I would never, ever let that happen. Instead, I walked her calmly to the bathroom and assembled her tooth brushing accouterments: red toothbrush, non-minty toothpaste, cup.
"Most people don't die until they are very old," I said. Then her brother refused to move off the step stool in front of the sink, and that caused a brief row, and the death talk was left behind.
You've got to have nerves of steel to do this job.