Every night is pretty well scripted in Casa de Cashatt. Dinner, bath, book, prayers, bedtime. Ryker knows what to expect, and it makes the evening go more smoothly for the most part.
At the end of our prayers for our family and friends, we generally ask Ryker who he wants to pray for. Sometimes we get people and sometimes we get “cupcakes.” (This is how i know he’s my child.)
Today after we did our normal nightly prayers and asked Ryker who he wanted to pray for we told him that today is a sad day. I honesty was hoping to get off easily, but instead I got my first taste of how hard it is explaining something complex and scary to a toddler. He innocently asked, “Why, Mama?” I remembered instantly where I was, who I was with, everything I felt- which is too big of an emotion for him. I thought quickly of the millions of ways I could answer him. I chose to try to tell him the truth as simply as I could. “Some people who think differently than us made some bad choices and caused a lot of people to go be with Jesus. We learned a lot that day and so we stop every year to remember them so that we don’t forget.” “Ok, Mama.”
That “Ok, Mama.” has been on my mind since. I don’t take its weight lightly. It means that he trusts what I’m telling him. He believes the words I say. Which also means he will believe any hate, bias, or personal opinion I give him. He is looking at me for how to react to new situations, new information, and new people. As he gets older it will help inform his reactions and his opinion. Hopefully, I can do a good job of exposing him to enough history and diversity that he is an ally to all he meets.
I also hope I can teach him that although today is sad, there is another side to the coin. In the days following 9/11, people were a bit kinder, a bit more considerate. Party lines that have people today so divided they can’t have family dinners were blurred. They helped a stranger, called their long lost friends and relatives, and prayed for the first time in a while. Ultimately, people realized what was really important and we should never forget that.