Posted by: Louise | April 28, 2011

existential crisis

It was towards the end of a pretty great day – a day of beaches and finding hats, impersonating Michael Jackson, climbing woody hills and climbing trees in woody hills. K had dropped the boys and I off at the park on the way home. Why stop now when we were on a ‘fun’ roll? We had done the park, wandered down to the seashore, collected treasures, jumped over streams and were now wandering back to our house.

The Little Boy Racer was running ahead, galloping out into the middle of the road and back to the side, exploring the boundaries of this world where the roads don’t all have footpaths and come laden with impatient traffic. I was busy texting, taking advantage of the phone signal that would disappear any minute now. We are away for a few days, down West. I think it is Easter, but the weather has us persuaded it is mid-summer.

As I texted I became aware of a voice jabbering away at my side. … scared of dying… wish I could die and come back to life…

Astro Boy is living in a very concrete world these days. The fantastic monsters have been replaced by fantastic facts. Mum/Dad this is a fact, is how he starts every second sentence.

Did you know that porcupines and hedgehogs are, in fact, not related? This is a fact. The porcupine is related to the sloth.

On Monday he counted 447 sea anemones.

This is a fact we are related to dinosaurs. Some creatures are directly related to dinosaurs…

Birds, chimes in the LBR.

… But we are descended from them.

Crocodiles, the LBR adds.

This is a fact.

Rhinoceros, the LBR continues.

We are a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a quarter related to dinosaurs.

But that was earlier in the day, as we are wandering up a woody hillside. Now we are heading home and on to the more intangible issues, the things we cannot know. Now we are on to death.

I wish that I could die and come back to life because then I would know what it felt like.

I was scared of dying when I was your age too, I say.

You know once a girl died and came back to life. All the machines and everything were just making a straight line but then she came back to life. Fact. I’m afraid of dying.

You know I used to be afraid of dying, but I’m not anymore, not since I had Laura. When Laura was with us, I could see just how peaceful death was, I offer.

You know Mum, I think Laura was a little bit alive, because one of her eyes opened just a little bit.

No, AB, Laura was definitely dead.

How do you know, Mum? Did they use one of those machines to check? She might have been a little bit alive.

No, AB, they looked at her heart on a screen and they could see that it had stopped. If they had seen that it was even just a little bit alive, they would have cut me open really quickly and taken her out to keep her alive.

You know, Mum, if they had done that, I wouldn’t even care that you had a great big cut on your tummy because it would mean that I had a baby sister who was one now.

She would be nearly two actually, AB.

And we still celebrate her birthday Mum and I like that …because then I get to eat crisps and stuff.

Last night we all sat on the sofa to watch telly. Astro Boy took up pole position between K and I – he was sitting waiting for us to come and join him. He had a blanket over him.

Mum, you sit on the blanket, really close to me. Dad, you do the same on the other side, so it’s really tight.

Some days you need to feel contained in your world…



  1. Man, this, this is writing. Perfect post. Just….I will come back and read this one again. Love to you.

  2. Angie could not have put it more perfectly:

    “Man, this, this is writing.”

    Yes, it IS.

    Always glad to read you, Louise.


    Cathy in Missouri

  3. Also meant to say, you have some of the most interesting children – interesting in the best way that interesting can be. I love hearing what they say, think, do.

    I have often thought of the film project on JFK…wasn’t it JFK? I mainly remember that I enjoyed watching it and thought, “So much of the creativity of those parents has been shared with their children.”

    And I miss Laura’s presence among them, walking along with you.

  4. Sometimes we all need that feeling don’t we?
    Last week at the RE’s office I had to have an U/S to check my mid-cycle staus. C2 remembers U/S’s very well from Cullen’s pregnancy. So she says to the Nurse- “We used to have a baby brother, but he died. Do you have a baby who died?”
    And it took my breath away….

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