Tag Archives: daughter

Three year old theologian

My daughter has a little Bible that she loves to “read.”  It is a little copy of New Testament and Psalms that is about four inches long.  She was sitting on my wifes lap the other day “reading” from her Bible, and said this:

“On the way to the cross, Jesus saw his disciples and said come with me to die and have peace.”

I thought that was pretty good.  Actually, I was pretty much blown away by what she said, but then she read from another passage.  I wrote it down as she was speaking, so this is what she said, word for word:

“Jesus went to the cross and died.  But he came back, and he was happy.  And they were all happy.  And the nails were gone and his tummy was fine.  And his body was awesome.  And he didn’t whine.  He was happy.”

This is where I am tempted to add my reflection, but I have a feeling that I couldn’t possibly be as poignant as her.

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Happy 40th Birthday, Big Bird and friends!

Big-bird

Today was the beginning of the 40th season of Sesame Street.

My daughter and I were watching Sesame Street together today.  This show, after 40 years, remains far and away my favorite kids show.  I loved it when I was a kid, and I actually enjoy watching it with my daughter now.

My strongest memory from the Street as a kid was when the grownups finally saw Snuffy.  I felt so bad for Big Bird for years as no one took him seriously.  He knew that snuffleupagus was real.  I knew he was real, and I felt Big Bird’s pain when no one believed him.  Today my daughter and I watched as Big Bird decided he was going to migrate to the rain forest.  As he was walking down the street, he started saying goodbye to everyone.  All of his friends were shocked that he was leaving, but he decided that the rain forest would be the perfect place for him to live.  As the “goodbyes” continued, I felt myself getting a little sad. Saying goodbye to Big Bird is like saying goodbye to a longtime friend.  Wondering if this was effecting Ellie like it was effecting me, I called her name.  She turned around, and the tears were streaked down her face.  I called her to me, and she crawled up on my lap.   “Are you sad?” I asked her. “No,” she said through her tears. “It will be okay,” she said and forced out a chuckle that sounded a lot like a sob.In the end Big Bird decided to stay.  He decided that the rain forest would be a neat place to visit, but he hadn’t realized that moving there would mean he couldn’t have playdates with Elmo, or have Cream of Birdseed soup at Hoopers whenever he wanted.  When he announced that he would stay, Ellie burried her head in my chest and gave me a huge hug.  Her hug left a wet spot on my shirt. I doubt that episode will be Ellie’s lasting memory of Sesame Street, but so many have one (the death of Mr. Hooper, the marriage of Luis and Maria are a couple – I’d love to hear yours). For forty years Sesame Street has educated kids about numbers, letters, friendship, vocabulary, shapes, and many other things while never talking down to them.  It has been entertaining and, with the possible exception of Elmo’s World, never annoying.  It is a show I loved when I was little, and a show I continue to love as an adult. Happy Birthday Sesame Street.  Share with me your memories – favorite characters – favorite sketches – favorite songs.

Here is a video of Snuffy being discovered by the adults:

And here is why this show is still great:

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Fish Funeral

I am preparing to do another funeral, but I’m struggling because I have been flipping through the UM Book of Worship and have not found a liturgy for fish. My daughter will be three in January. She has a pet fish named Dorothy (I think 95% of fish owned by kids under 5 are named either Dorothy or Nemo). It is sick.

It is a Beta. Once it was a brilliant red, with flowing fins and a swatch of glowing blue. Once it swam around her tank, eager for a couple of little pellets. We swore that she would come out from behind her rock whenever our daughter entered the room. We had some adventures with Dorothy. There was the time our daughter, while we thought she was napping, got the can of fish food.

She somehow unscrewed the top and gave Dorothy enough food to last about six years. Then she spilled the other half of the can in her bed. That was our first call to poison control (Beta food is okay for toddlers).

Our daughter was so excited when we brought Dorothy home. For months she kissed the tank good night and was very good about feeding her. Eventually, the novelty wore off, but she never stopped loving Dorothy. Over the last few weeks Dorothy has not looked so good. Ellie has been very concerned, and we have prepared her for the worst.

“Dorothy is very sick,” I told her. “She might die soon.”

Ellie knows a little about death. She has been to funerals. We have allowed her to see bodies laying in state. We talk to her about death. I’m not sure what she understands, but we haven’t hidden it from her. We feel that society does enough death-denying. We don’t have to participate in it too. Sometimes she asks questions or says things that give us pause. But we try to be consistent in telling her that eveything dies. Even Dorothy, even our dog, even Mommy and Daddy.

“Will I die?” she asks.

“Yes. Someday.”

“When I die, we can die together,” she says as she looks in my eye. Inside I agree. If she dies before me, there is no question that I will die too. Every parent that has seen their child die has died a little too.

“Ellie,” I say as I take her hands and look her in the eye. “We will all die someday, hopefully not for a very long time. And if you die, I’ll be so sad, but I know that you’ll be with God. But right now we are living, and I love you, and we can enjoy living every day and be thankful that we are alive.”

I don’t know if we have done the right thing in talking with our two-year-old about death, but I’m not afraid to talk to her about important things – big things – things she might not understand. The thing is, talking to a two-year-old about things makes you boil things down a little.

We live. We die. In between we do everything we can to love and laugh and and share and dance and sing and play. Through it all, God is with us. God is in our creation. God celebrates our triumphs, mourns our tragedies, and in the end, God is ready to take us home.

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I love you one

Today I after breakfast I rose from the table to go to church, and I looked at my wife and two year old daughter and said, “I love you two.”  My daughter said, “What about Basil? [our dog]”

So I replied, “You’re right, I love you three.”

My daughter smiled and said, “I love you one.”

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For her

Today at the gym my 2 1/2 year-old daughter gave me a reminder, as if the top view of my belly wasn’t enough, of why I was there.  She came with me and my wife today, and she sat in a desingated corner of the room for children.  She watched PBS kids and read books and played with some toys while we worked out.  We can usually see her, but she is really good at staying in her area.

At the end of the workout I was doing sit-ups on the incline bench.  I could see her off in her area watching “Super Why.”  Usually during my sit-ups I pull out my phone and do them while holding a picture of her smiling at me.  Then when I count them off, instead of numbers I use the letters in her name.  Since my return to working out, the most I’ve done in one set was 30.

This time, as I was getting to 30, I started struggling.  When I got to 28, I was thinking, “almost to 30, then I’ll stop.”  Then I heard my daughter’s voice calling out “One, two, three” in time with my sit-ups.  She was counting them for me.  I’ve never cried and done sit-ups at the same time, but I was close this afternoon.  I got to 40.  When I was done, she shouted in glee, “Daddy!”  I walked over to her, bent down to give her a kiss, and she reached up to oblige.

Then at the last second she pulled away, crinkled her nose and said, “You’re all wet.”  I was.  For her.

Weigh-in: 316 (up four pounds in two days – that sucks)
Treadmill: .75 mile (.25 walking, .25 jogging, another .25 jogging after lifting)
Rowing machine: 1 km in 5 minutes
Bench: 135 3 sets of 10, 185 4x
Incline situps: 40 (1 set of40, afterwards my whole abdominen cramped)
Other: curls, triceps, back

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