Always Real

Car Conversations

As we were driving to the store earlier in the week, Sean points out the window and shrieks, “Oh Mommy! Look at that beautiful garden!”

Garden?  How is it I’ve driven down this street a million times and never noticed a beautiful garden?

I craned my neck to see where he was pointing. It was a cemetery.

“Can we go there some day?” he asked innocently.

I know a couple who have a child buried in that cemetery.  Their faces filled the movie screen of my mind.  For a split second I imagined myself in their shoes, standing in that beautiful garden, facing the unthinkable, the unbearable.

 “Sure sweetie, we can go there sometime,” I said, my voice cracking and sounding unnaturally cheerful. “Sure we can.”

And then the conversation veered around the corner on two-wheels as only it can with a three-year-old in the car.

“Mommy, why do pirate ships have diving boards?”

I’m still thinking about my friends.

“Mommy! Why do pirate ships have diving boards?”

I’m jarred away from one grave to another.

“Because they like to go swimming.”

For that moment, that was the best answer I could come up with.  And technically not a lie.


19 thoughts on “Car Conversations

  1. Parenthood means becoming the master of the segue…and you have to be on your toes to veer sharply from thinking about something tragic to a question about pirates. Funny how he’s at the age where a cemetery is a garden and “walking the plank” is nothing more harmful than preparing for your swan dive.

  2. My children adore playing in cemeteries (where we go to vist three of their grandparents). My husband and I like to think that our parents enjoy their energy and joy.

    Last night I was reading a book about pirates and I realized that there were some parts of it that it was okay to read now to them. Before I’d tried to shield them from “walking the plank” and the thievery. No more. I still, however, make pirates seem no worse than the mean kid in the playground. Someone who could be nice if only their paretns would teach them how. That’s a bubble to burst for another day.

  3. That is so funny… kids are so innocent and they ask the most amazing questions.

    My favorite car conversation was one that my BFF and I overheard while driving. My 5 year old was telling her 5 year old where babies came from (we had just had our 3rd daughter at that point and ALL talk was baby related)

    S -“Your daddy has a perm, and your momma has an egg”
    A – “ohh I like eggs, my mommy puts cheese on them”
    S – “if your daddy gives your mommy a perm then you get a sister like me”
    A – “wow, your mom and dad got lots a perms huh?”

    We were laughing so hard I had to pull the car over to the side of the road!


  4. Having lost our niece just last month, thinking about little ones in cemeteries is still too close to home. Some days it’s just unthinkable.

  5. I LOVE cemeteries, and only haven’t taken my toddlers to play in any because I’m not sure they’ll really appreciate them yet.

    I have a great deal of sympathy with Anne Blythe in this regard.

  6. I have been in your friends’ place. I can never drive by a cemetery without thinking about the children buried there.

    I think you answered your son’s questions very well.

  7. I used to love Memorial Day as a child (we called it Decoration Day then), because we went to the graveyard and I’d run around reading tombstones with my mom telling me NOT to step on the graves. I still love graveyards.

  8. You did a good job with your answers. Kids ask all kinds of questions and every question is important to them. Sounds like you gave him an important answers.

  9. i love old cemetaries with all the statues and monuments. i also love to go to the decoration in may, they still have the all day singings here and dinner on the ground at the decoration! up on hayden mountain a tiny little church has the fa so la singing, some years we pack up and go there. the old cemetaries in the rural south will always be wonderous places to me. my grandparents and all my granddaddy’s family’s buried in one long row in one. i remember as a little girl the long ride down there on sunday afternoons and roaming around looking at all the old tombstones and wondering about the people buried there. i’m not sure if i’m ghoulish, or just fasinated with times and people gone by! probably a bit of both!

  10. That is the story of parenting right there. . .seemingly innocent questions and comments that hurt our hearts from the emotions of our blessings.

    And I think your pirate diving board reply was spot on. 🙂

  11. No matter where our minds go, even to incredibly sad places, our children have the gift of bringing us back into the moment. And thats something I’m grateful for every day.

    Loved your quick response on the diving boards! Pirates are not much in favor currently at our house. “Too Scawry.”

  12. My six year old has asked to go see the garden where her great grandmother is buried. I haven’t taken her yet as I am afraid that the visit will spark all kinds of questions about death and heaven and the after-life for which I am ill prepared.

  13. I have a distant friend who is having a funeral for her baby on Tuesday… ::sigh:: All things work together for good… trying to wrap my mind around that one this morning.

    Great post! I think I’ll ask my kiddos to help me think of how this will work out for good — they seem to think more creatively than I do.

  14. Hi Antique Mommy,

    I just finished reading your pregnancy tale, and I am just amazed at your story. Wow. What a miracle your little boy is. I mean, all children are miracles of course, but this one REALLY is.

    I’m glad to have found you. And, FWIW, I love the name ‘antigue mommy’. To me it signifies something truly precious.

    – Heidi 🙂

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