We've been through this before.
Geralyn Broder Murray: "What happens when you're dead?" Reese lobs casually from the backseat, as though it were more like "What happens when you go to the Laundromat?"
Oy vey. At nine o'clock at night on a Friday? After a very fun but exhausting pizza party? With my work clothes still on and so much still between me and my sheets?
"What do you mean?" I say lightly, angling for time to compose an answer, while Finn, my 2-year-old, not one to be left out of things, offers enthusiastically, "I'm dead! I'm dead sometimes."
"You're not dead, Finnie," I say, more quickly than necessary, and while he protests ("Sometimes, I am, sometimes!"), I say to Reese diplomatically: "People think different things about where you go when you die."
They both wait for me to continue, not interrupting for perhaps the first time since their births. I dive in, knowing the water will be cold and unfamiliar.
"Some people think that when your body stops working, the thing that makes you you goes somewhere. Like heaven," I summarize, leaving so much out.
"Somewhere beautiful and soft, where you can have whatever you want, whenever you want it," I say, conjuring up what I hope are angels and harps and fluffy clouds, the only thing I'm willing to offer my 5-year-old at this point.
"And what do the other people think?"
I give her the short answer: "That you just go to sleep forever."
Silence for a minute -- I can hear the gears in her brain whirring while Finn keeps saying things like: "I sleep, I sleep sometimes."
"I'm going to do the sleep thing," she says to me, "'cause I like to sleep."
As always, she throws me for a loop, abandoning the Disneyland-ish option for what can only be described as a long bedtime. And once again I think about how we need to figure out the whole religion thing before we are asked questions that demand more. Then I realize we are already there and that we are fumbling our way through -- awkwardly maybe -- but just fine, too.