My 6 year old son is really starting to get into The Chronicles of Narnia. They are just easy enough for him to read by himself, and just challenging enough that he doesn't mind if I read them to him at night. Having devoured The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (the easiest, and in my opinion, best book of the series), we are on The Magician's Nephew, which is book #4 or #5 that C.S. Lewis wrote, but which has since been renumbered as #1. Blasphemy, I say, to renumber the serioes like that, but whatever.
For anybody who does not have a 6 year old currently obsessed with Aslan, here is the basic plot of the book. Young Digory goes to London for the holiday with his sick mum so they can all be looked after by his aunt Letty and his eccentric Uncle Andrew. Digory learns that Uncle Andrew has been dabbling in magic, and has suceeded in forging magic rings that will transport people to other worlds. Through a series of mishaps and misadventures, Digory ultimately ends up in Narnia before the beginning to time and witnesses the creation of the world. His focus then becomes on procuring something in Narnia that he can bring back to his world to cure his mother of her mysterious illness.
This sick mother plot caught my son's attention. Like, a lot.
He would keep interjecting questions like, "WHY is Digory's mom sick?" and, "Is she going to die?" "What is going to happen to her?" and again, "WHY is she sick? What does she have?"
Perhaps it is just my mothering paranoia coming through, but it made me wonder how much he has internalized about HIS mother being sick. Luckily I am able to lead a fairly normal life right now, but there are things that he has noticed and has to live with. Yesterday, he moaned that we haven't eaten chicken with bones (yes, he digs drumsticks) for a LONG time. He said, "Why don't we eat chicken anymore? I miss chicken."
Yeah, you and me both kid. So I told him we would go to Chick-Fil-A after his T-ball game. I've discovered that for kids, there are few things a good fried meat product and a milk shake can't solve.
I don't know how to cushion my children from PKD, or even if I should. Part of me wants to see them grow up into productive, involved activists who will be able to fight for what their mother and they and their future children need. The other part of me wants to curl up under the covers with both of them with our books of fantasy and tell them in the real world nothing bad happens to anybody, ever.
It's what keeps us from having more kids, really. My husband keeps reminding me that that nobody benefits from having a large family if their mother is too sick to take care of everybody, or, worse, not around at all.
In the end, Digory's mother is healed, as the magic from Narnia makes her well.
See? Perfect ending. Here under the covers with my book, things look great. I think I'll stay awhile.