A family we don't know in our school has experienced a horrible tragedy. The father (in his mid-30s) suddenly died at work last week (aneurysm). The children are similar ages to our girls. It is unimaginable.
Markus and I were discussing it quietly when Ellie overheard and asked what we were talking about. I decided to tell her in the gentlest but most honest terms I could. I asked if she knew a boy named Saxon. She did, though vaguely we could tell. I asked what class he was in, and she told me. Then, I calmly explained that Saxon's daddy had died and it was very sad. She wanted to know why Papa and I were talking about it if we didn't know them, so I explained that her school had notified all the parents in case children wanted to talk about it. She was quiet and thoughtful. Then, she asked if that meant he and his sister didn't have a daddy to play with anymore. I told her yes, that was it meant. She thought for a moment, and then she smiled reassuringly and said, "Well, if they don't have a daddy to play with, we could share our daddy and they could play with him too."
I want to leave it there, because I am so moved by my girl's sweet, tender, loving heart...but there's more and I bet you'd want to hear it too. When you are prepared to move from touched to tickled, I have to add...
Noticing how warmly we received her suggestion, she thought up a second one after a while:
"You know, Saxon is kind of brown. His skin is kind of brown. Maybe there is another brown family with two daddies, and they could just give the extra brown daddy to Saxon's family, and then they will have a daddy again!" (huge grin of satisfaction)
We explained that they were probably a bit too sad to look for a new daddy right away, but we would be sure to pass on the advice when they were ready.