Many people assume that Dancer and Diva are simply unaware of what has happened in our family - that they are unaffected. That could not be farther from the truth. If I have learned anything, it is that children know and understand far more than we give them credit for.
They proved that to me once again a few nights ago. Daddy went to run an errand and they climbed up in my lap (what's left of it). Dancer cuddled on my left and Diva on my right....they hugged, kissed, and stroked "our baby," as they call it.
Dancer took the lead, asking me to talk about "all our babies." She wanted to know what each one looked like, whether they looked more like her or Diva.
And then she told me, "Mommy, I love all our babies, even if they are in heaven with God and Jesus. And I will always remember their names and I will always be their big sister. Always."
Diva chimed in, "Mommy, I'm their big sister too....right?" And I told her, "Yes, baby, of course you are."
We laughed together at the idea that baby Kasey had hair just like Diva's, dark and fluffy. And that baby Kayla was like Dancer...born with nothing but peach fuzz. We talked about how long and skinny Isaac's feet and hands were. They were sad that their brothers and sisters were gone, and they told me how much they wanted this baby to make it. But, as bittersweet as the moment was...it was also beautiful.
Because I have learned that the best way to help them understand (as much as anyone can understand such things) is to let them lead me.
They say some of the most beautiful things...and ask some of the toughest questions. The thing they have the most trouble understanding is the lack of answers. For children, there is the perpetual question of why, and they are never truly satisfied that they have the full explanation. So sometimes, they have to ask the same question periodically. And that, too, is OK.
My philosophy has been to be honest, be willing to listen, and be willing to talk to them...because we cannot afford to hide this. Our family, including Dancer and Diva, has been altered. And one of the worse things I could do is make them (or myself) feel that our children...any of them...are something to be hidden or ignored.