Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heavy Stuff

String Bean has always been a bit of a serious kid. Not when she's running around in the Ariel costume she just scored for 25 cents at the garage sale down the street, singing in her shrieking high voice about the wonders of the sea, but when it's late and quiet and she has time to settle into her own mind a bit. She likes to cuddle in her bed together after I put Peanut to sleep and talk about some of her thoughts, to sort of clear her mind before sleep. I get this, as I do it, too. Only I don't talk about it, I just mull over my own thoughts as I battle it out with insomnia. Some nights, the thoughts clear and I fall asleep soon. Other nights the insomnia wins and I have lots of free time for thinking.

So, for tonight's bedtime chat String Bean wanted to discuss the horrors of slavery. She wanted to know why light-skinned people would take dark-skinned people from their homes and families. Why they were cruel to them. Why they wouldn't pay them for working for them, and why they hit them whenever they wanted. She wanted to know why there were no laws to protect them. She also asked about the Civil War, wanted the low-down on Jim Crow laws, and followed up with asking why anyone would want to shoot Martin Luther King, Jr, when he was just trying to make the world a fair place.

I like that she's a deep-thinking 6-year-old, but sometimes I worry about all the heavy stuff she's carrying on her tiny shoulders. I asked if we should change the subject, if maybe talking about all of this scary stuff would make it harder for her to fall asleep, and she said, "It's not scary, just sad." And within a few minutes of expressing her sadness about the way people will treat people sometimes, she drifted off to sleep.

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