Just like I knew they would, my eyes fill with tears as I tell Lucas the photos we are carefully pasting to the page are the last ones taken of my parents. It was my wedding day, seven years ago.
I thought we’d have a couple more years before Lucas had a Family Tree project.
It’s basic, immediate family only, no research required and a few fun questions about our family including, who is the oldest member of our family and who has the longest eyelashes.
Lucas has been known to tell complete strangers that my parents are dead. Just like that, he’ll blurt out to anyone who’ll listen, “My mom’s parents are dead.” It was shocking the first couple of times but, I expect it now. I’m ready when the cashier at the supermarket looks at me with a blank stare on her face unsure what to say next. “It’s okay.” I say. Of course, it’s anything but okay, but she doesn’t want to hear a sob story and I’m just trying to buy dinner.
Death is a regular topic in our home. I have shared here before the many conversations we have had as a family, the questions my five-year-old so inquisitively asks and the delicate way in which we attempt to ease his precious heart and mind by responding the best way we know how, with the truth.
For us, it is normal. I realize this is not the case in other homes and assume most of his classmates have two sets of living grandparents, maybe more.
Lucas only has one set of grandparents and they are kind and loving and a very big part of our lives. I am grateful for them every day.
I could argue that my parents are a big part of our lives too, as they come up in regular conversation, there are lots of photos of them in our house and many stories and memories to share. But are my parents no longer my children’s grandparents because they are not here physically or because they never had the chance to meet my children? We refer to them as Grandma and Grandpa Adams. In my mind that’s what they are. Right? I don’t have the answers. All I know is, their lives were cut short and were they here, they’d love Lucas and Lola to pieces.
I’m not worried about what Lucas will say when it is his turn to present his family to his class, he’ll no doubt share what details he knows, however, I am concerned about how the other children may respond.
I gave Lucas’s teacher a head’s up and she was grateful and reassured me that no two families are alike and that she would create a sensitive environment for whatever the children what to discuss.