She ran to me, sobbing, when I arrived to pick her up. Her teachers quickly assured me that she had a great day. She was fine. She was crying into my leg. She just didn’t want to go. When we got outside, the moment the door closed behind us, she remembered a picture she was working on. One she was desperate to bring home. I told her we couldn’t go back. She cried. A lot.
In the car she asked all the questions.
“What are those lights in the air?”
“Do you mean stars?”
“No! Of course I don’t mean stars! I want my picture! What are those lights called?”
“Do you mean the street lights? Or planets?”
“No! Not in outer space! Lights on the earth! The ones that are white and little. What happens when we die?”
“Nothing happens. We just stop. And those who miss us have memories.”
“Yes, and pictures. Sometimes seeing the pictures or thinking of the memories makes us feel better.”
“I miss Molly. I liked to pet her. I wish I had my picture!”
“I’m sorry we don’t have your picture. That’s really sad and frustrating. I’ll make sure to remind you to empty your mailbox when I pick you up tomorrow.”
“What are those little lights called? Do you see where I’m pointing?”
“Christmas lights. Those are sometimes called Christmas lights. Or holiday lights, or string lights.”