Every March growing up, my mom would tell us to look for buds in the trees. I'm not sure they always arrived in March (I grew up in an icebox) but the buds were a sign that Spring was coming, that after the bitter, dead winter, beautiful things could come alive again.
I walked outside yesterday to see small crimson clusters on the tree in front of my townhouse and smiled. I exclaimed to my children that there were buds on the trees and that everything was coming alive! Ethan asked what "alive" was. I sat for a second and then said, "You are alive if your heart is beating and you are breathing and moving." I obviously didn't have a clear answer. After all, trees don't really breath and all movement on their part is very, very slow. But it's like they are waking up, I said, and giving us blossoms to enjoy, no matter how short-lived they may be.
Today, Ethan asked me about death. I can't remember how the conversation started but he wanted to know what happens when we die. "Does it hurt?" Of course I said no. "Do you just get back up after you die?" I answered no again and told him that his body will be buried. I explained that his spirit will live on to the next life, in which he will learn and grow even more and then finally, when the time is right, we will all be resurrected, with our bodies. We will live again!
"So did you and Dad already die?"
I guess I hadn't explained it well enough. I said we will all die one day when we are really old (cross our fingers), but that won't be the end of us. We will continue on. It will be more like waking up than dying, really... kind of like the buds.
And I really hope that's true. In the meantime, I am going to brush up on both my spiritual and physical facts because, honestly, his questions are getting really hard to answer.
On a much lighter note, don't mess with these kids:
They have decided to stop smiling for the camera :-(.