“Oh no, Mommy, look!”
I turned in his direction and I followed his gaze down to the bird with flies buzzing around its head. I pulled him away quickly.
“Oh no, don’t touch. It’s a dead bird.”
“Uh oh, Mommy. Now it can not go to his family.”
“No, he can not go to his family.”
“But why, Mommy?”
“The bird is hurt. It looks like a kitty cat or a ruff ruff got him.”
Our feet pattered on the concrete as we continued walking down the road.
Should I tell him? Are we ready for these conversations?
“Now the bird is in heaven with God.”
But why Mommy?”
“When things die, they go up to heaven to live with God.”
A long pause filled our conversation as we both pondered the validity of my statement. Can we talk about this yet?
“Mommy’s Daddy lives in heaven.”
Gentle feet pad on the cement. I look down at the top of his head. I can see his eyelashes and his brow slightly furrow as he grips the flowers he has collected tighter.
“Does your Daddy take care of the birds, Mommy?”
Surprised tears threaten my eyes as I smile and reply, “Why, yes, I guess he does.”
Chirping birds and a distant train combine with the sound of our shoes on the ground as the background track to our poignant conversation.
We observe fallen branches and white lines painted on the road. They were meant for traffic but they make a perfect balance beam for my son to follow as I walk beside him. His concentration is on the line; the steadying of his feet one in front of the other.
My concentration is on him.
As the line fades and we near the next cross street he says, “Mommy? And your Daddy will say, no no kitties and ruff ruffs we do not hurt birds.”
“Yes,” I realize and speak out loud, “that is probably something he would say.”
The rest of our walk is speckled in conversation about looking both ways and not throwing trash on the ground. We stop to admire flowers and bugs and I watch as he delights in walking down into a shallow ditch and climbing back out.
As we near our house, he breaks into a big grin and runs to the driveway. “That was a good walk, Mommy. Now I am thirsty.”
It was a good walk, love. A very good walk.