Last night the children had a hard time falling asleep. They were lying in their beds and being fairly quiet but they just were not sleeping. I went to check on them and GigglyGirl asked for a book that BusyBoy had borrowed. I handed it to her. BusyBoy then asked, begged, and pleaded for me to read the book to him. It was a Golden Book version of Disney’s The Lion King. It has been awhile since we read this particular book. The children have not watched the movie. Thinking, “One book will only take a couple of minutes to read” I relented and gave in to his request.
We move along through the story and Simba’s father is killed by a stampede of wildebeests. BusyBoy wanted to know what trampled meant. I explained what it meant and that Mufasa died.
BusyBoy then said that Mufasa was not dead and we would see him alive later in the book. I tried to explain further but BusyBoy was adamant. I continued reading.
Simba ages and becomes a grown up lion. Then he is reunited with his childhood friend, a girl lion named Nala, when they surprise each other in the wild and she pins him down. BusyBoy exclaims, “See! There is Mufasa! He’s not dead.”
I replied gently, “BusyBoy, that is not Mufasa. He died. This is Simba as a grown up lion.”
BusyBoy began to cry this pitiful cry. When he calmed down enough to speak, he said with very jagged breathing, “You hurt my feelings.” Then he cried more.
I got in bed with him and held him close to me. I told him about how I had recently watched a tv show about John Adams. I said, “John Adams was the second president of the United States and he died a long, long time ago. Before, you were born and before I was born. He was born before the tv show started. I knew he was dead. Even so, I watched the last part of the tv show just last night. In that part John Adams died. When I watched it, guess what I did.”
“What?” Sniff. Sniff.
About this time, Mr. Right came in the room. He had not heard any of what led up to this and I thought his answer would give more credibility to my story. I asked Mr. Right “What did I do when I watched John Adams last night?”
He said, “Mommy cried. And cried some more. She cried a lot.”
BusyBoy sniffled and asked though a still wobbly voice, “Why?”
“Sometimes books, tv shows, movies, and real life make us very happy and make us laugh. Other times, they make us sad. Sometimes they touch our heart so much that they make us cry. This is what happened when I just read The Lion King to you. You know, it is not bad to cry when something like this happens. It means that you cared so much about the story that you paid attention and the story touched your heart.”
He seemed to understand this. His sniffles stopped. I was able to finish the book and tuck him back into bed. He and GigglyGirl went to sleep quickly after this final tuck in.
In our house that tearful night, the circle of life touched our hearts both big and small.