15 May 2012

What Do You Do When...

From a child's lips to God's ears.

Our trip to North Carolina provided us with 4 new members of our family.  Herman, Hermione, Heron and Hershey.  Lexy's little hermit crab babies.  Only they're not babies.  I think.  I'm not sure, I mean, can you really tell how old a hermit crab is?  I think they're young.  They're small.  And I think hermits get to be big.  Do they get big?  Because if they grow any bigger I can't say that I'll be picking them up on a regular basis.  Cause the bigger they are the harder they pinch.  And they pinch.  A lot.  

The hermits survived 7 hours in the car on the way home.  They survived cool nights before we could buy a heater for them, before we could buy a new terrarium for them to live in with all kinds of sand and climbing toys and coconut fiber for them to eat and climb.  But, one little hermit.  The one with the yellow shell.  The only one that Lexy picked and said that she loved and wanted.  Poor little Hermione has passed away.  And when I told my mother that little Hermione has passed away, she asked how I knew... well, I suppose when the legs fall out from the shell and land on the sand you sort of have your answer.

We had 15 minutes of sadness, no tears mind you, but the questions about why animals die, how animals die, where do they go when they die, how do you get to heaven and what is in heaven.  All perfectly valid questions, of course, but they're hard to discuss with adults, let alone with a 4 year old   How do you explain to a 4 year old that hermit crabs don't live forever, that they're hermit crabs.  They aren't supposed to live forever?

My big parenting lesson of the day?  Pull the little one into your lap (or what's left of your lap when you're 27 weeks pregnant), answer the questions to the best of your ability and with as much honesty as you can muster, and let them be sad.  And the promise them a new hermit crab.

But, Lexy summed it up herself and in the best possible way.

"And dear God, please look after Hermione and take care of her now that she's gone up to be in Heaven.  She's a good Hermit Crab.  Amen."

And, yes.  There was a funeral, complete with TAPS, for Hermione.

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