One night while tucking my four-year old into bed, past his bed time, little fingers pushed my wedding ring around as we lay quietly in the light of his bedroom lamp. A question burst from my sons’ lips like a landslide. “Mom, what is this?” His finger rolled over the diamond in my wedding set. “It’s mommy’s wedding ring, a sign to all the world that I am married to your daddy.”, I said after a slight pause, being taken off guard by the simplicity of the question while knowing he may not get the depth of the simple answer I was giving.
He looked up into my eyes, “I marry a girl mommy?” “Yes, son, someday you will marry a girl.”, I said laughingly. “I marry Hannah!”, he said matter-of-factly. Laughing still, I sat up on my elbow, “You can’t marry Hannah, she’s your cousin, and you can’t marry someone who is already family.” “Why not?”, his voice said whining. “Well,” I said trying to think of an answer he could understand. “See, Hannah is your Aunt Kendra’s baby and your Aunt Kendra is my sister, like you and sissy; so, you can’t marry her because she is already family. You have to marry someone who isn’t family so they can become family. Like a little girl at school, or someone you meet later in life.” I crossed my mental fingers and hoped he would understand. “Oh, ok.”, he said rolling over on his pillow. He laid their silently for a few moments and then quietly said, “I want to marry Hannah.” I laughed, “You can’t sweetheart, she already your family.” “Awe-Man!” came his exasperated response. With the conversation at its end and sleep quickly approaching I wondered if any of our conversation had really made sense to him.
Several days later we loaded into our vehicle; we were going to the store for a surprise! As we drove the short distant a little voice came streaming from the back, “Where are we going? What’s the surprise?” Then that distant bedtime conversation came back to the forefront with a boom and a bang! “Mommy, we going to the store to buy me a girl!” I couldn’t contain it, I busted out laughing! “Are we going to buy you a girl from the store?”, I repeated back to him. “yeah, a girl for me to marry!”, he chimed back. “Well, son, there are still families who buy wives for their son’s, but we are not one of those families. You will get to choose your wife one day, the one God has made for you.”, I said through controlled laughter. He had gotten it! He understood me and daddy were not related, we married each other so we would be. I was tickled at how his little brain was working but glad he understood the basics, at least for a four-year old. Then he spoke matter-of-factly from the back with just a hint of whine, “I MARRY HANNAH!” — Forehead SLAP!
“The soul is healed by being with children.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist and philosopher