Not unusual for a five-year-old, I know. And necessary and worthwhile, because that’s how you learn. But oh so exhausting for the parents.

Recently, about God. We were driving somewhere and Zoe asked something like was God real and if so where does he live. She asked if God has human friends. And she asked about prayer and why people pray. So we talked about God not necessarily being a HE but maybe a spirit who isn’t a man or woman. We talked about God living in your heart. We talked about how many people think of Jesus as their friend and they find it easy to talk to Jesus because he was human too. Her only really familiarity with Jesus was as a baby, so I gave a brief overview of the important teachings of adult Jesus. We talked about being thankful and about wanting good things for people you love and for the world, and how you could pray about those things or meditate. She launched into a confusing story about some kids at her art camp who were trying to meditate and got interrupted. It was a good conversation, and the subject didn’t really come up again.

Until today, when we were leaving the Virginia Scottish Games, held on a giant field on a very hot and humid day and both of us were a little overcome by the sun and heat. I was trying to encourage Zoe to drink some water so she did not get dehydrated. She said “maybe you should pray for me.” “Why should I pray for you?” I asked. She said, “so I won’t get dehydrated.” While am not at all opposed to praying for her, I said, “or I could just get you to drink that water and get you out of the sun.”

Tonight, after a big family discussion about anger and how to handle it, which is always a fun and relaxing bedtime activity, I fielded many questions about surgery. Because in case kindergarten wasn’t enough to worry about, surgery is looming six weeks later. I could answer most of the questions, based on her previous surgery. I played up the new stuffed puppy we already picked out who will be a treat after she wakes up from the anesthesia. I emphasized jello and treats she can eat after we get home. I said we could get as many DVDs form the library as we want. She said she hopes someone will send her flowers.

So we seemed to have all that settled and I’d said one more good night and gone downstairs when I heard “mommy! Is that thunder?” and of course the huge storm had chosen that moment to erupt. So I returned to her room and moved approximately a thousand stuffed animals from her rocking chair so I could sit there. She said I could leave once I was sure she was fast asleep. I threw another dog onto her bed, and she crossed her arms over her chest, clutching Ralph in one and Jenny in the other. Finally, she did fall asleep, to dream of something sweeter than surgery or thunderstorms, I hope.