As we drove to lunch today, Brynna prompted a conversation that will stay with me always. Sitting in the backseat dressed loudly in pink, she asked if Zoe was in surgery. I explained that it was still nighttime in Australia so Zoe was sleeping but would start surgery soon. Brynna was momentarily distracted by the timezone discrepancy (she comes by that naturally; it confuses the heck out of me) and then she said, “So AJ & Zoe and I share the sun. When it’s here, they’re sleeping and then when they have the sun, I’m sleeping.”
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a better explanation.
She chattered on about how she hoped Zoe wouldn’t be too scared and how she prayed she slept well. Then, as though the thought hit her for the first time, she asked, “Mama. What’s actually wrong with Zoe’s back?”
It never occurred to her to need the details to pray.
I explained that when Zoe was two, she had a really bad bug on her back and it hurt her insides. She had to take medicine and have surgery to remove it. Now the doctors are fixing where the bug hurt her back. She thought a moment and as if she was doing math in her tiny head, she asked, “So has Zoe always been sick since I’ve been alive?” I confirmed and told her that’s why in some of the pictures when she and AJ were babies, Zoe doesn’t have hair. The medicine made her lose her hair. Her response was, “Zoe lost her hair?” I told her to think about the picture on Yaya’s wall. Nothing. I told her to think about the pictures we laugh about when she and AJ were such different sizes. Nothing.
She was too busy playing with and loving her cousin to notice she was bald.
She then asked if Zoe’s back has always hurt even after the bug was gone. “Yes, ” I told her. “That’s why she’s had to wear a brace.” I can’t count how many times Brynna and Zoe have been in the midst of a conversation while Zoe laid on the floor and one of us tightened the straps on her brace her brace. (Brynna’s arm is literally wrapped around Zoe’s brace as they smile for the camera in Disney World.) Brynna obviously knows Zoe has worn a brace; it just never dawned on her it was bad. I added that after today’s surgery, she hopefully won’t have to wear the brace again or the halo on her head. Without a joking ounce in her body, she asked with every bit of 4-year-old seriousness, “Mom. There’s something IN Zoe’s head?” The tone in her voice implied “What is wrong with you people that you haven’t gotten it off her head before now?!”
I share these pics only to illustrate how profound it is that she literally never noticed. That check in your gut that just happened…she never had that thought of “oh, poor Zoe!” She saw her cousin. She loves her cousin. They made faces to see who could make the other laugh because that’s what they do.
We could learn so much from children if we’d let them teach us.
We don’t need to be in the same timezone to share.
We don’t need details to pray.
If we’d focus so intently on loving one another, we wouldn’t even recognize the differences and flaws that we think are such a big deal.