So, tonight, just as I am dusting off my Mother of the Year chops, feeling pret-ty damn good about myself*, the Bear comes wandering out to the couch where I am sitting, pondering. She looks... upset.
Mommy, I wish God was real.
... Real like how?
Real like you.
How to explain that real in the physical sense and real in the truest sense are not the same thing? I knew I had to tread carefully here - I could sense that this was something she was really struggling with. We talked through it for quite a while.
Mom, I don't want to have to pray to God.
Well, then, don't. Nobody can ever make you do that. But why not?
I just want to be able to talk to him like a normal person, like I talk to you.
Well, you can do that. Just don't expect an answer you can hear with your ears.
Then how will I hear it?
With your soul.
That's where I lost her. We've been talking for a while now about souls - what they are, where they are, what they do, etc. - but she's a little skeptical still.
Like in your heart?
Yeah, your soul is kind of like your heart.
I don't have a soul.
Everybody else does. You do, Tank does, but I don't.
Of course you do, dear. Everybody has a soul. You're born with it.
Well, mine is missing.
And then, in a final desperate bid to floor me completely:
Life just isn't true without God, Mom.
Well, we already decided that God is real, and this? This right here? This is true. This is as true as it gets.
And it really was. I have no idea if anything I said made any sense to her, or if she feels any better about it at all, but she's in there sleeping, and now I'm awake, wondering what to do about this, what to tell her, how to tell her. Sometimes, it's not about the winning. It's about just getting by without causing any trauma.
*Resisted the urge to spend nonexistent cash on pizza for dinner, just because the Bear wanted it? Check.
Made dinner with existing supplies instead? Check.
Washed dishes? Check.
Took out the trash? Check.
Unpacked suitcases? Check.
Did laundry**? Check.
Assisted with pumpkin-cutting homework project? Check.
Bathed both children? Check.
Successfully got the Tank to sleep in record time? Check.
**Although, technically, since it was the Bear's blanket and pillow for preschool, which I forgot today, I should get a check-minus.