Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Story

The hubs and I decided long ago that we would be honest with our kids, telling them an age-appropriate version of the truth. (The exceptions being all things mystical and mythical, such as Santa, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. Believing in those things as a child are important, too.)

When my Grandmother died in May, we pointed out how sick she'd been. We told him she would have loved nothing more than to walk him over to the park, or let him help make brownies or a cake but she was simply too sick and couldn't. We told him this made her very sad, and when she died she got to go to Heaven where she'd never be sick again. She would forever be happy and could look down on us and smile, watching us at the park together. But the fact that she could never come back made the rest of us sad, and that was why Mommy was crying.

On September 11th, we told him that sometimes bad things happen ("Like sometimes you fall off your bike?" "Yep. Sometimes you fall off your bike."). But there are very very good people we call heroes that help other people when bad things happen to them. ("Like Superman?" "Uh, kinda...except Superman is just pretend. Firemen are heroes. Police officers are heros. You could be a hero.") I explained that if you saw someone in trouble and helped them, you were a hero. He seemed to like that idea very much, and I could see the little wheels in his head as he thought, "Cool! I could be like Superman!!!"

So this year, in our efforts to keep Christmas real, I decided to tell him the real story of Christmas.

If he were older than four, I would have seriously considered reading the Gospel of Luke out of the Bible, but I know his limitations. Linus could give him that version later and he'd actually listen.

So one day, while driving in the car (the center of learning for our family at this point), I asked him, "Nick, do you know why we have Christmas?"

"Cuz then there's presents?" Bright boy.

"No, we have Christmas to celebrate Jesus's birthday."


I laughed. "Hon, Christmas is like the birthday party. Jesus died a long time ago--"

"JESUS DIED?!?" I could hear his current perception of religion shatter like frozen glass, and I tried not to laugh out loud. (I failed. That was just too darn cute!)

"DON'T LAUGH AT ME!!!" he roared from the backseat. Then he thought for a few minutes. "So, Jesus is in Heaven, then? Like Grandma?"

"Yep hon. Like Grandma."

He considered for a moment. "Oh. Okay then."

And that was that.


Tammy said...

So sweet! It's funny how we think they don't really get it sometimes and they totally do! And I love their honest funny comments.

Liza's Eyeview said...

Great way to explain it - yes, the Christmas Story. Thank you, I enjoyed this post.

Eternal Sunshine said...

Isn't amazing how we think things are so difficult or complicated, and the kids just simplify it all for us??

I blogged a similar experience recently - trying to explain about how not everyone celebrates Christmas, or beleives in Santa.

The best laid plans...

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

I love it! Kids are so literal. And accepting.

Weaselmomma said...

That is so very cute and sweet. I love the matter of fact acceptance that 4 year olds have

We are THAT Family said...

Aren't kids just so honest and simple? What a great story and way to raise your kids!

Zip n Tizzy said...

Shock!...and then acceptance.
So genuine.
Sweet little guy!

Kim H. said...

You are a GREAT Mom! Don't you ever let yourself think otherwise!!!! And I mean that!

And by the way, I read the other day your post about your brother going on the roof. And I laughed so hard I cried - no really, I did. That was the funniest story I've read in a long time. And I read it just at a time when I needed my load to be lightened and that post totally did that for me.

And I can't believe the dog followed him out. Now that's one loyal dog!

Kim said...

Didn't you just want to stop right at that moment and bottle up the innocence ?? What a sweet story..

Anonymous said...

Yes that's very cute. It's funny how they always have to get the presents in though isn't it?

Bobbi Jo said...

Love the post. I am 44 and still get excited when the Christmas movie is ready to start. I am just a little kid at heart. Merry Christmas! Enjoying your blog so much. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

That is just about perfect. I love when the synapses fire. Kudos, mom.

Miss said...

He totally gets it. Wow. Good job mom!

Vodka Mom said...

I am so Laughing out Loud at this. That is an ADORABLE story, and sounds a bit like how I tried to explain it.


those were the days.......

Oh, The Joys said...

Jesus DIED????

(love that!)