Saturday, September 09, 2006

The hard stuff...

I hate some of the things that I, as a parent, have to explain to Austin. He is now 6 1/2 years old and has started to ask the tough questions. He is also very bright, so simplistic answers do not work with him. He wants the details...he can understand the details.

Austin was just 19 months old when 9/11 happened. (Watch Monday for a post about my memories from that day) He was much too young to understand what happened and really never has even acknowledged that he knew anything about it. Friday he came home with a piece of paper from school announcing that they would be having "National Patriot Day" Monday at school. Austin wanted to know what that meant. This is how our conversation went:

Austin: Mom, what is National Patriot Day?

Me: Well, it is a day to remember what it is to be an American and to honor some special people.

Austin: So is it like the 4th of July?

Me: Sort of. The 4th of July is to celebrate our country's birthday.

Austin: Oh, so what people do we honor on patriot day?

Me (realizing I need to just tell him about 9/11 before he hears it on the news and gets confused): Well, back on September 11, 2001 something happened. You were just a baby so you don't remember it. Some very bad men took over some airplanes.

Austin: What do you mean, took over?

Me: They took control of the planes away from the pilots and started to fly them by themselves.

Austin: OK

Me: Those bad men then crashed the planes into two buildings in New York called the World Trade Center. They also crashed one into a building in Washington and another one crashed into a field.

Austin: Why would they do that?

Me (tears coming to my eyes): I don't know Austin. I wish I did know. See these people don't like America and they wanted to hurt us. The two towers fell down and a lot of people on the planes and in the buildings died. It was a very, very sad day.

Austin: So Patriot day is about honoring those people?

Me: Yes, it is about honoring those people and their families.

Austin: Then I guess I better pray for their families on Patriot day. I bet they miss them.

Me (about to completely lose it): I think that would be a very nice thing.

This was probably the hardest conversation I have ever had to have with Austin. I am still not sure if I handled it right. Sometimes being a parent is really hard.