My 7 year old daughter is currently studying the past, present and history in social studies. She brought home an assignment the other day to do a personal timeline. We were discussing important things that have happened in her life and I pointed out she had missed the birth of her siblings (3 have been born since she was). So she went back to work at the timeline and showed it to me later. She had included the birth of her two younger sisters but Eli was missing from the timeline. I pointed out where he should be and asked her if she wanted to include him. She said "probably not".
In that split second my insides crumpled like newspaper. Outside, I hope, my face registered nothing unusual. Casually I asked "why not?" to which she explained that earlier in the fall during her student of the week time she had explained she had two brothers in addition to her three sisters. The children apparently questioned her about her brothers and she told them her brothers didn't have kidneys and they couldn't breathe when they were born. Which is about as good of an explanation as any. But then she said they made fun of her. I asked how and she said they asked why her mom didn't just have another girl.
I'm not exactly sure what was said and how it was said but whatever happened made an impact on her and not one she cared to repeat.
While I'm sad that this happened to her, I can't blame her for wanting to only include her living siblings. How many times have I only included my living children when asked by strangers or acquaintances? I don't always feel like explaining or dealing with the looks on their faces or whatever else accompanies what I tell them. It has nothing to do with Eli and Wyatt but everything to do with me. They will always be my children, ever in my heart and my mind, but they are also very sacred to me and sometimes sharing them doesn't feel as sacred as I want so I selfishly keep them to myself. I can't blame my daughter for reacting in a similar way.
So I thanked her for telling her class about Wyatt and Eli and left it alone. It hasn't left me alone quite yet.