The title of this blog post makes it sound like learning something new is a rare occurance for me...it's not...it is just that I rarely find such a striking moment to discover a whole new facet of one of my children.
I took my three kids to the memorial service for my Great-grandma Bea on Saturday. I expected I might have a few questions to answer about the service, but I was surprised by Spunky Girl's reaction. She seemed fine on the way to the service. She asked a few questions about death. We talked a bit about what a coffin is...she wanted to look inside (of course). I gave my usual speech to the kids about what behavior is appropriate during the service. She gave me the "we know, mom" response.
When the service started, she burst into tears. She crawled up into my lap, buried her face into my shirt, and just bawled. Spunky Girl isn't a quiet crier. She gets a high pitch hiccup-y wail that goes on as she cries, and her body shakes. It seemed like 5 minutes went by (but was probably more like 1 minute), and she pulled herself together. We were good for a bit, and then she started bawling again. By the time the service was over, she had such red puffy eyes.
I was surprised. I guess I would have expected Sweetness to be the one crying. She was much closer to Grandma Bea, as Grandma would often cling to Sweetness when we visited the Care Center. Spunky Girl and the Big Guy would usually just run around and play.
After the service, Spunky Girl was really thoughtful about the memorial. My Grandpa Jim died last year and now she realized that he didn't have a funeral. Actually, he did, but the Big Guy threw up all over everything on the way to the service so we didn't get to attend. I knew when Spunky Girl was talking about Grandpa Jim that she was processing death on a larger scale than just Grandma Bea.
I think I've learned that Spunky Girl has more powerful emotional swings than Sweetness does. I don't think Grandma's death is harder or will be harder for Spunky Girl than Sweetness, but I think that she feels things stronger in the moment. Im glad to learn that now...and hopefully I can remember than when we are in the midst of histronics and be more understanding and loving.
I'll leave you with a picture of my dear Great-Grandma Bea Hatfield. She was loving and funny and friendly. I'll always remember her, dressed in her white keds and ready to go for a walk on the beach.