This post has very little to do with deer. And yet I wouldn’t have seen what I saw without this recent deer sighting.
The kids and I were on our way home from school yesterday when I noticed a deer lying on the side of the road. The young deer presumably had been hit by a car as deer often are in our area of New Jersey. The deer’s head jutted out a bit into the road, causing me to swerve to avoid hitting the carcass. I avoided running over the deer and looked back in my rearview mirror to see if the kids had noticed anything. I saw Logan looking out the back window of our car. She then turned around to face the front of the car and our eyes met. She had seen the deer and was in deep, feeling-full thought about it.
I asked her right then if she was alright. When she answered, “I think so, ” Lucas wanted to know what was wrong. Persistently, he kept asking, “What happened, Logan?,” until she answered, “I just saw something.” Of course Lucas wanted to know what she saw. Finally, while looking my way, she told Lucas, “I just saw a strange leaf, that’s all.”
It was the first time I noticed that Logan intentionally was, in her mind, protecting Lucas by making up a story. In this instance, she obviously thought it was best for Lucas not to know about the deer. She probably thought that he might get upset at the sight of one of his favorite animals laying lifeless on the road, although he has seen deer like this before. And she seemed to be letting me know, with just a look, a sighting, that she was big enough to handle seeing the deer and old enough to keep her little brother from knowing what happened. She revealed an awareness in this moment — she was aware that I knew what she saw, and she decided to create an alternate story that wasn’t true, but nonetheless was meant to protect. That deer sighting belonged to us — to me and her. And Logan’s brief fib and her calm look let me know we could handle it.
She’ll be fine. I hope I can handle it — she is growing up so fast. All my kids are.
Have you experienced similar moments with your children?