I'm not paying attention. It's late in the day and we have to get home. Normally, I help Bean pick out the books, and I pre-read them to make sure that I'm going to want to read the book 100x in the next week. And let's face it, some kids books suck. Clifford, the big Red Dog???? Or anything by Laura Numeroff and her stupid ADHD overly demanding animals! Tonight, I let Bean grab the books and I didn't look at them. She grabbed them from the Spring display, and I incorrectly assumed that they were about gardening.
Bean has her library books in her lap while I drive us home. Then I hear the following:
"Oh Look. This guy has a crown. He's a king. And why does he have screws in his hands? Is that blood? That's weird, huh?"
That's when it hit me, the empty cave featured on the cover of the books wasn't a bear cave; it was Jesus's tomb and my daughter was now asking me to explain Jesus to her.
This probably would have been easier if we went to Church, but we don't attend regularly and when we do it's a kids' mass that involves more songs than bible passages. I think quickly. I'm not ready to go ahead and describe the Crucifixition and the Resurrection because let's be honest, how fucking terrifying does that sound to a 4-year old? I'm scared of it. Yes, so there was this guy and they put nails in his hands....what? How is this part of catechism?
I decide to explain the only way I know how:
Well, honey there was this man named Jesus Christ.
Oh you say his name sometimes (Full disclosure, I say it under my breath, usually annoyed by idiocy. I had no idea Bean picked up on this).
Yes. So Jesus was a teacher. He was a great and kind teacher. When we celebrate Christmas, we are actually celebrating his birthday because he was such a special guy. He was friends with everyone and his main message was teaching people how to love.
So he's like Miss Monica and Miss Marianna?
Yes, except that he was such a great teacher and a leader that people started to follow him around because they liked his message of love. But he lived in the Roman Empire and the Roman Empire was like this great, big kingdom. It was so big. It stretch all the way from England, from where 101 Dalmations took place, all the way to France where Belle lived and all the way south to Italy where Gramma's parents were from and all the way east to where Hercules lived (note, how I deftly blend Disney characters, with family and greek mythology).
Okay. Yes. Yes.
Well, the Roman empire was so big and they needed to keep control over it. And there are some leaders like Jesus that lead with kindness, strength and courage and there are others like King Tritan who lead by making other people afraid of them and that's how the Romans were. They scared people into listening to them. And, well, they were afraid of leaders like Jesus beacuse so many people were listening to him, and they were afraid that they'd lose power.
So the Roman were villains?
Well, kind of. They did great stuff too. Like they build roads and aqueducts. They made beautiful art and buildings. But in this one regard, you could say they were villains.
Why does he have screws in his hand?
Okay, so Jesus had all these followers and he just keeps telling everyone to be nice and to love one another and the Romans come along and arrest him and say "Stop doing that!" And Jesus says, no. I
want people to be kind to one another. And then the Romans put him up on the cross with those screws.
Did he have a lot pains all over him?
Yes. And he was sad, and eventually he wasn't in pain anymore. And his friends took him down off the cross and put him the cave.
Yes, but he's at peace and on Easter we celebrate his life and being kind and to love one another because that is what he'd want us to do.
Mom! Mom! You be Jesus! ( I should have prefaced this story by saying how much we role play in my house. Every day. Every minute of every day, my Bean commands me to be a different Disney character. I go from my gruff Beast growl to sweet Cinderella and then again to Malificent. The stories that Bean comes up with frequently involve someone hiding or a villains' game of Ring around the Rosie. But Jesus?) Mom! Mom! You be Jesus talking to the Beast!
Now, I'm speaking in my gravelly Beast voice, and then I'm suddenly talking in a deep man's voice and we (both me, talking to myself like a lunatic) are talking to Queen Elsa (Bean) as we pretend to look for Aurora (WTF?). And then Bean said the cutest thing:
Mom! What if I pretend to be Queen Elsa and I hop into this book and freeze all those Romans? Unscrew! Unscrew! I took the screws out and I saved the day! I saved Jesus!
Wouldn't that make a more interesting New Testament?