I made Max cry.
I didn’t mean too – he just kept badgering me – about the end of Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams.
He wanted to know what happened at the end of the story. His teacher was reading it to them at school.
Spoiler alert. I told him Charlotte died.
My sensitive boy burst into tears and I felt terrible.
“Why did Charlotte have to die?” he wailed.
“Well, spiders don’t live very long and it ends up ok,” I said. “She left behind lots of babies and some of them stay with Wilbur.”
I tried to empathize with him by saying I cried as a kid when I read that Jack the dog died in one of the Little House on the Prairie books. This didn’t help.
Did I mention he has a tender heart? The other day he cried because he accidentally killed a cicada he was playing with. This is the same day I had to break it to the kids that our favorite rabbit, the infamous Patrick Swayze and resident of the coffee shop Sidewinder Coffee, had died. This one got to me too. Patrick was a regular in our lives – Mama gets coffee, kids get to see Patrick. Both kids cried when I told them and I got teary too. I think squashing a cicada the day he found out about Patrick was a bit much for Max.
He buried the cicada and put it in a hole with a post-it that said sycada.
We also put a peony on it. While I consoled him, I wondered to myself what Patrick’s owner Kim did with the stuffed bunny he used to hump. (You have to find humor, right?)
When I told Calvin about Patrick he cried and said, “I didn’t care when Patrick’s girlfriend died.” For a short while, Patrick had a girlfriend named Eppie who wasn’t as friendly.
I eventually calmed Max down about Charlotte and we talked about how maybe it was better to find out at home than in class – that was my spin on it.
I asked him about it later in the week and he said a couple of kids cried when they got to the end of the book in school.
I think this is beautiful. I’m glad kids are getting emotional about books – it tells me something is working.
And we’ll always miss Patrick Swayze.