Daniel has an Uncle Obsession of sorts. For the longest time Uncle Mike has had top billing, but lately Daniel has been asking a lot of questions and telling stories about his Uncle Dan. Tonight we were snoozling (a Bob-term meaning cuddling prior to snoozing) in bed and Daniel started talking about uncles. (I’ll have to think of how it started, but want to get some of this down before it leaves my brain.) He asked if we could pray to his uncle…the one “that died.”
“No sweetie, we can only pray to God, but we can pray and ask God if He would say Hi to Uncle Dan for us.”
“Yeah, I want to do that.”
So I prayed, “Dear God, we ask that you would tell Uncle Dan hi for us and that we miss him. And thank you so much for his love for you and the way he believed the Bible.” Then Daniel asked how he died. He knows it was a motorcycle. I told him that another car ran into him. Okay, how much information is too much information for a 5 year old? I don’t know. But he asks about it sometimes and I try to tell him the truth.
“Was it a bad guy?”
“No, it was a little old lady.”
Long silence and then this sweet little five-year-old voice declares, “I want that girl to die.”
I told him how she didn’t mean to do it. “You know how mommy sometimes runs over the curbs in the van and I say, ‘Oops, I ran into a curb!’ I don’t do it on purpose, I’m just not being very careful. Mommy is not a bad guy. Same with that girl. She didn’t mean to. She just wasn’t very careful. She’s still sad about it sometimes.”
“Can we pray for her?”
This time Daniel prayed. “God please tect (protect) the girl and not make her be sad.” Or something like that. I can’t remember the words he used. Just the meaning and that it was his idea to pray and just how incredible it was to witness that kind of faith in a five-year-old.
* * * * * *
Now I remember part of how this whole conversation got started. It was, of all things, hot lava! Daniel and his brothers have been playing the typical childhood game where you try not to step on carpet (or the colored tiles, or the rug, etc.) because it’s “hot lava.” So he’s been talking about hot lava lately.
“I don’t want to go in hot lava.” He states just matter-of-factly.
“No, that would hurt.” I agree.
“Where is hot lava?”
“Hawaii? Where’s Hawaii?” I told him how Hawaii was some islands in the Pacific Ocean. “Hawaii has hot lava?”
“Whoa, how did God do that, Jenny?”
Then Daniel started telling me about how, “Some guy had hot lava and made metal.” And something about an airplane.
I asked him, “Where did you learn about all this?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did you learn it at school?”
“No, I don’t think at McDonalds… or Chic-Fil-A.”
“Did you watch a movie about it?”
“Yeah I think at my uncle’s… my uncle that died.” Which is not possible since Dan died two years before Daniel was born. But Daniel has made up stories about Uncle Dan before. In the past it would have really freaked me out thinking it was some sort of reincarnation or a ghost, but I think he is just trying to make Uncle Dan more real to him because he’s obviously real to Bob and I. Maybe he thinks he should remember Uncle Dan so he invents memories.
One of the reasons we think Daniel has this ongoing obsession with uncles, other than the obvious fact that he has some incredibly awesome uncles, is because he lives with his mommy and daddy. Now, that might not make a whole lot of sense to those who are in “normal” families. But in our family our kids take turns praying for each other’s moms who are, or have been, in jail. Daniel, not wanting to be left out, started praying for his uncle, who recently moved to Texas. While the kiddos make pictures and write letters for their moms, Daniel makes pictures and writes letters for his uncle. At dinner and at bedtime the other boys will often add, “and Daniel’s uncle” after they’ve asked God to protect their moms. I smile each time they do that knowing how a certain uncle would definitely appreciate these innocent, unknowing, and unspecific prayers.