I had the wonderful chance to catch up with a friend and her kids this weekend. I still haven’t decided if it was stoically, or stupidly, British but we headed to a local country park trail in the mizzling rain to do a children’s activity afternoon. It was fun even if the staff were clearly beyond enjoying having mud, crying children and deer food thrown about their visitor centre. Also, the trail was quite hard to follow and we gave up halfway at which point the youngest of our group cried out ‘we’re lost and I’m very tired!’. The inner toddler in me echoed those sentiments and just wanted a cup of tea and a sit down.
On the wander back, I was holding the hand of my friend’s seven year-old when she asked me ‘Where do you work?’.
A lot of thoughts went through my head. I’ve discussed a lot about talking to your kids in a frank way but I hadn’t thought about what to say to other people’s kids! I immediately didn’t want to upset her but also didn’t want to lie. ‘I work at the hospital’ I replied, to which she quickly responded with ‘Are you a midwife?’. Bear in mind earlier yesterday she had asked me if the peacock showed off to the peahen because he wanted to marry her and you can easily gauge how a seven year old thinks! It’s adorable, and innocent, and heartwarming.
‘Not a midwife’ I said, ‘Quite the opposite, I look after people’. I hesitated. This wasn’t easy but I looked at my friend who smiled and said ‘You can tell her!’. So I told her I look after people after they die. That when people get sick, I clean them, dress them, and look after them until they go for their funeral. Her response amazed me. She explained that she thought she would be very good at my job because she had won a game at school where they played looking after dead people. She asked if she could come see me at work one day. She then asked if I saw people die, so I explained that I only start looking after them once they are dead. She clearly thought about this for a minute and smiled and reiterated again that she would very much like to come to where I work.
I think a lot of the time we forget that children are far more resilient than we realise. My instinct was to shield her from the grim reality but her parent knew better than me that she would be fine, and she was.
Hope you’ve all had a great weekend so far; it’s not over yet! Back to work for me tomorrow, normal service will resume. Oh and if you wonder what I said about Mr. Peacock, he did want to marry Ms. Peahen. Of course he did.
Mr. Peacock strutting his stuff about the car park