Sometimes Our Childrens Questions Answer Our Own

I was changing Ford's diaper the other day when he asked, "Mom, will we always have Tanner?"

Tanner is the family dog, and at twelve-years old, her health is quickly deteriorating.

"No, Ford," I said gently, "we won't always have Tanner. She is old, and she won't always be with us."

"But if she's not with us," he asked, "who will have her?"

Ever since I became a mother 4 years ago, I've been preparing myself for the tough questions-Why am I here? Where do babies come from? Who shot JFK?-but I admit I wasn't ready for life's greatest question in the middle of a diaper change.

I answered carefully. "Ford, when someone is no longer with us, they go to live with Jesus in Heaven."

A tear made its way down Ford's cheek as he said, "Well, I don't want any other dog after she's gone."

One week later I stood behind my grandmother as her husband of 63 years was buried into the ground. Grandpa lived to be 93, so there was much to give praise for, but I was tormented by one thing. He never saw my sons, his only great-grandchildren.

"Can he see us now?" I wondered silently. "Is he looking down from Heaven and finally seeing the boys?"

My other grandfather, Big Jack, died when I was pregnant with Ford. He too never saw my children. And now, today, I have no more grandfathers. No white-headed men to pat my boys' heads and slip them forbidden candy.

But like Ford, I don't want anyone to replace Big Jack and Grandpa. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, "But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." Big Jack and Grandpa are gone, but someday we will meet again, and something in my heart tells me they are still here, watching and smiling.

As we left the funeral, I thought back to my conversation with Ford. Very soon he will have to say goodbye to Tanner. I hope I have prepared him well enough.

But then again, as I remember the timing of his question right before my grandfather's funeral, could it be that God was actually preparing me?

Sarah Smiley, Copyright 2004

About The Author

++You may reprint the above column on your website so long as the following is included the URL address is actively hyperlinked back++

THIS MUST BE INCLUDED: Copyright 2004 Sarah Smiley http://www.SarahSmiley.com - Sarah Smiley's syndicated column Shore Duty appears weekly in newspapers across the country.

[email protected]

In The News:

Relationships & Parenting  Millennium Post
The Decade in Parenting  NYT Parenting
I Feel Weird Lying About Santa  The New York Times
Our Favorite Parenting Books of 2019  Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
This Is Pregnancy Over 40  The New York Times
Youth Sports and Modern Parenting  Scuttlebutt Sailing News

STOP Parental Alienation Syndrome before It Gets a Chance to START

Parental Alienation Syndrome was probably first identified and codified by... Read More

Dads - What Family Legacy Are You Passing On to Your Children?

Do you want to create a deeper, more loving relationship... Read More

Understanding A Childs Beliefs, Nuturing Young Beliefs

Children are moral and make moral determinations... at least until... Read More

Guide to Choosing Plush Toys for Children

Many people consider plush toys great for children. They say... Read More

Why Wont My Teens Clean Their Room?

Have you ever had this struggle with your teens? Did... Read More

Introduction to the Medications Used in the Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder

There are several treatment options available to help improve the... Read More

My Best Buddy

My son, Dakota is now 7 yrs old. He is... Read More

Back to School - Disappontment?

Our back-to-school buying habits do not help kids succeed in... Read More

Playful Parenting - More than Just Fun and Games

Early childhood educators have called play "children's work". Many parents... Read More

Parents, Teach Thought-Stopping! Fix Crooked Thinking Caps

Does your child pout, blame and brood? Does he gripe,... Read More

Diagnosing ADHD in Your Child, an Introduction

Everyone in a private practice setting who works with children... Read More

Tips For a First-Time Dad

So you're going to become a father. Now is not... Read More

The Great Baby Name Debate

Winifred or Willow? Thomas or Troy? The name you choose... Read More

Teaching Your Child Safety

Q. What is the best way to teach safety awareness... Read More

Top Seven Tips for Back-to-School Success

Parents play a critical role in their child's success. These... Read More

Planning the Ultimate Kid Birthday Party

Child Party Planning Guideline #1)Pick the ThemeYour child is going... Read More

Are Your Kids Driving You Crazy? How Character Building Charts Keep You Sane

Who lives in your house? Are they driving you "crazy?"... Read More

Peer Pressure - Five Ways to Help Teenagers Beat Peer Influence

Young people generally want to fit in to their various... Read More

The Best and Worst of Motherhood

Until the moment I became a mother, I couldn't quite... Read More

Does Your Child Need A Bedtime Routine? - Yes!

Do you struggle to get your child to bed at... Read More

How Two Quarelling Kids Helped Invent the Better Behavior Wheel

When David was nine and Laura was twelve, the battles... Read More

Public Schools Can Waste 12 Years of Your Child?s Life

For over fifty years, public-school officials and politicians have tried... Read More

Raising Kids on a Budget

There are only two ways to get more money:1) Increase... Read More

Alias: Aptitude

Be aware. You may become totally overwhelmed when you get... Read More

Maturing As a Parent

I have three children, ages 19 and 16 (yes, the... Read More