A few years back, we were home from a week-long vacation at my parent’s house. We had just brought everything into the house, and we had suitcases everywhere. My middle daughter, who was only three at the time, asked me one of those dreaded mommy questions. “Mommy, how did McKenna get here?” (McKenna, of course, being her younger sister, who was only a few months old.)
Ah, yes, the birds and the bees… undoubtedly at the top of the ‘toughest kid question’ list. No matter how good we are at talking to our kids, we still squirm a little with this one. Yes, ‘God made her’, and yes, ‘she came out of mommy’s tummy’ are all valid answers that we often use. None bad, but with inquisitive little minds, those answers are just not good enough. They always need to know more…Inevitably, the ‘how’ questions always seems to follow whatever answer we give. I, too, gave her a couple of those simple little one-line answers, but like I said, it just wasn’t cuttin’ it for her.
I looked over in the corner, and saw the suitcases still full of all of our clothes from vacation. “Madelyn,” I said, “Go pick up that suitcase for Mommy.” She proceeded to walk over and tried to lift the massive container of vacation garb, but, to no avail. “I can’t pick it up, Mommy…it’s too heavy!” (Actually at the time, she said ‘it’s to heaby.’…so cute!)
“Well, that suitcase is too heavy, and so is that question you asked Mommy. When you are big enough to carry that suitcase, you’ll be big enough for Mommy to talk to you about how your sister got here. That question is just too big for you right now, honey.”
To my surprise, and utter relief, she said “Oh, okay…can I have some goldfish?” Just like that!
There are some things our kids are not ready to hear, but of course without discernment, they will ask anyway. We should always take our kids’ questions seriously, but that doesn’t mean they all need an immediate response, or resolve. We are supposed to be the discerning ones. Answering questions they are not mature enough to handle is not only unnecessary, but can be detrimental. Kids carry stress without even knowing it. Overload of knowledge about things they don’t need to know can affect them without us even knowing about it. You know the old saying…’you’re on a need-to-know-basis’? Well, there’s something to be said for that. Our kids should be on a need-to-know-basis, and it’s really for their own benefit. We as parents are given that “mommy magic” which gives us the ability to discern for our kids better than anyone about what they are ready to hear, or handle. I am a grown woman, and to be honest, there are times that I’d rather be on a need-to-know-basis!
So, Mom, don’t be afraid to give the ‘suitcase answer’ to some of your kids really tough, grown-up questions. It lightens the load for everyone involved, and trust me, if the question was one that is important for your kids to know the answer to someday, they’ll ask again!