The topic came up quite innocently. And unfortunately, quite early in the holiday music season—which in my house begins the day after Thanksgiving. The song Happy Christmas, by John Lennon, came on and I mentioned how much I love the song. I also, off-handedly, mentioned that the song was even more moving because the singer was singing a song wishing for peace but tragically, was, himself, shot.
The conversation went something like this: Me: isn’t this a beautiful song, kids? It’s so sad that the singer is dead. Daughter: he’s dead? Why’s he dead? Me: he got shot. Son: why’d he got shot? Me: Hmm, I don’t know, honey. I guess a bad man didn’t like him. (May Day, May Day: conversation taking wrong turn. Get back on course…happy thoughts…holiday music….new topic!)
Anyway, after a few more questions and some vague responses from mom, I was able to distract my kids by pointing out a lovely display of holiday lights. I thought the topic was over. No such luck.
For the next week, EVERY TIME we heard Happy Christmas (which was fairly frequently, since it’s on one of my favorite holiday albums,The Best Christmas Album In The World, Ever), my son would enthusiastically ask: who’s this singing? To which I would respond: John Lennon. He would then ask: did he got shot? Me: Yes. Son: By a bad, bad man? Me: Yes, love.
By the following week, dialogue turned monologue: (cue the song) Son: it’s John Lemon! He got shot by a bad, bad man. You can imagine my dismay when my son would readily offer this information to unsuspecting merry makers; their looks of surprise as they pondered what sort of mother teachers her young charges such things.
Ah, Christmas joy, Christmas spirit. The warm fuzzies of the holidays. The many lessons about teaching our children the true meaning of Christmas, the non-consumer-side of the holiday and that, truly, during the sacred advent season, less really IS more: Less sugar, less loot and certainly less information when it comes to the tragic biographies of deceased celebrities.
Oh well, I may have blown it with Happy Christmas. Here’s hoping at least for a Happy New Year.