“Not our parents. They wantto go to the flames.”
I pulled back from where I’d been eavesdropping on my five-year old twins and their friends. I’d expected to hear chatter about toys; not how my husband and I had a premeditated date with the devil.
Sure, some days were challenging, but I thought we were pretty good parents for the most part. Not already earning an eternity condemned to hell.
“How do you know?” Whispered one of their friends. I envisioned the small group of girls leaning forward, wide-eyed, waiting for the response. Just as I was.
“They said so. Just the other day, they said they want to burn.”
Apparently I wasn’t the only one guilty of eavesdropping. In fact, our girls were notorious for it and had achieved ‘master-level’ at it; such as discussing cremation when two five year olds are supposed to be listening to a movie through headphones. I’d recently begun to suspect Laken put them on and turned the volume off. A few glances in the rear view mirror displayed Yasmine intently watching the tiny screen hanging from the roof of the van with a giggle escaping from her now and again, as expected when watching The Wizard of Oz…even if it is for the fifty-thousandth time. Although when my eyes shifted to Laken I’d find her staring ahead, mouth slightly agape in concentration, sucking up every bit of information and distorting it to the world according to a five year old.
The Question Queens had surprised me by only asking minimal questions after we’d attended a viewing with cremation. The two of them generally riddled me with questions about death and dying. Of course, now I’d determined it was because they’d already concocted their own theory as they tend to do.
Twins: “How do they get to heaven?” Me (I hesitate. The last time this discussion ended with them making a secret field trip to the yard to dig up their dead hamster to see if it indeed, had left for heaven.): “Um, The soul goes.”
Twins: “How does it get out of the ground?” Me: “God does it.”
Exasperated by my inadequate response, the questions begin to escalate as they rapidly create their own explanation.
Yasmine: “So it’s like he’s magic then?” Laken: “Does he know Santa? They could probably use his sleigh—Does he give God a present for Christmas?”
Yasmine: “Or just Jesus cause it’s his birthday? Is it like a conveyor belt coming from the ground (she adds in hand gestures mimicking the invisible belt that transfers the dead.) up to heaven? Once you get to heaven then what do you do without your body?” Laken: “Do you get a new body?”
Yasmine: “Can animals go to heaven too then? They have souls, right?” Laken: “When you get your new body it’s a person, right? Or is it an animal?”
Twins: “What does the soul look like? I thought that was a shoe.”
Confident that they’ve eradicated any of my ability to concoct an explanation suitable for a child, or even a coherent thought they turn to me, waiting for my response which is generally deemed insufficient to their liking and another twenty questions are drawn from that until my mind become addled and I try to distract them with candy.