The heart of a child 

My firstborn is very sensitive.

My firstborn is very sweet.

My firstborn has the most tender heart of any child I know.

My firstborn, my son, Liam, has such a beautiful soul.

Everyone says boys are rough and tough, and he sure is. However, he has a such a gentle way about him. He is only four and the other night we had such a beautiful heart to heart conversation where I truly saw him as someone other than a four year old child.

Wow.

It all started when we were watching a new show on Animal Planet. In this particular show, a vet takes on cases for people who have financial issues as well as regular cases. (It was actually a really sweet show. At first.) Towards the end of the episode, a homeless family brought in their elderly dog and he had a heart attack in the lobby. The viewer watched the dog die and the woman went hysterical. Holy moly…it was so sad. Luckily, the vet acted quickly and was able to revive the dog and he lived happily ever after. For two more days. The end of the episode showed the vet telling the sad, but thankful, owners that the dog had passed during the night. My sweet Liam was devastated. He did not understand what had happened all within thirty minutes of the dog dying, being revived, and ultimately dying again. It was definitely too heavy for a preschooler. (Thanks Animal Planet!) He asked a few questions and we talked while I brushed his teeth and put him to bed.

I laid down with him and he began to cry very softly. I scooped him up and in between his sobs I was able to understand this: “Mommy! (Sob) I don’t want (Sniff) Reilly and Jasmine (Sob) to die! (Sniff)” It was like a punch right to my soul. (Reilly and Jasmine are our dogs.)

Last year we found a baby bird that had fallen from its nest in the backyard. One of our dogs got to it first, but thankfully my husband rescued it when he did. He was hurt, but we vowed to keep him warm and fed and hopefully rehabilitate it. Liam was so excited! He quickly named him “Happy” and watched us as we diligently cared for it. He lived for 24 hours. It was very sad for our three year old Liam, but we got to talk about things that ended up laying a nice foundation of conversation for the future. Over the last year, Liam would reference him randomly saying that “Happy was flying in Heaven” and “having fun with God.” It is always quite precious to hear him talk.

The other night he brought up Happy and asked if the dog that we saw on the episode was in Heaven, too. Then he began crying again saying “I don’t want Reilly and Jasmine to die!”  Before I could answer he asked, “will God throw that dog that died a ball and take care of him? Will he take care of Reilly and Jasmine, too?”

We had a lovely conversation with great snuggles and then we read a book that I had bought him last year after Happy died.

It was a beautiful moment, sad yes, but beautiful nonetheless because it was the first time we got to have a deep and meaningful conversation about something besides Mickey Mouse or Ninja Turtles.

The heart of a child must be protected. I am so thankful for the adventure Liam lets me be a part of.

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