Since October started, my children have debated about what they wanted to trick-or-treat as. I forget Flora’s original idea, but for the longest time, she kept telling me she wanted to be a girl skeleton. I wasn’t 100 percent sure what that entailed (turns out a skeleton-patterned outfit with a skirt and/or pink bow). But it struck me as very creative, and I was game.
Kate wanted to be a girl pirate, which I thought was perfect. I was busy gathering the pieces (eye patch, bandana, sword) and looking forward to having her swashbuckling through the neighborhood.
Then she decided she wanted to be a cat. Which disappointed me, but then the phrase Katie Cat popped in my head, and that was pretty fun.
And then, we went to a Halloween store.
Kate walked out with a Minnie Mouse costume (“it’s so cute and pretty!” she exclaimed), and Flora is going to be a cat. I tried to talk her into the all black cat costume, but she picked the one with hot pink trim and tail.
As we all know, Halloween is full of spooky images, some more scary than others. But many of them, from ghosts to zombies to gravestones, revolve around death.
So I wasn’t all that surprised to get this the other night from Flora: “Am I going to die?”
Right before bed, too.
I admit, I was totally honest. “Yes, someday. But not for a very, very long time.”
She got sad. “I don’t want to die.”
“I know, baby. And you won’t for a long time. You are young and healthy” — all this time I am figuratively knocking on wood in my head, of course — “and Daddy and I work hard to keep you safe.”
“Are you going to die?”
I sighed. “Well, yes, honey. But, again, not for a very long time.”
“And Daddy is going to die.” Now she was starting to cry, and Kate was getting into the act too.
“I don’t want to die, either!” Kate cried.
Why didn’t someone warn me about this part of being a parent?
I eventually got them both soothed and settled. Isn’t almost 6 years old a little young for an existential crisis?