single mom

103 Years

“Did you know that 1500 people died when the Titanic sunk 103 years ago? It’s so sad.”

These are the words my five-year-old says to just about anyone who will listen to him. He can tell you all about the submarines that have explored the remains of Titanic. He can tell you about the artifacts that have been recovered. He’ll gladly tell you about how the ship sunk, in detail – from hitting the iceberg to splitting in two.

“Please can I watch the Titanic videos?” he pleads, fidgeting with interest as I try to bring up the YouTube video that digitally represents the sinking. I try to change the subject to happier, more age-appropriate topics but it’s no use.

Why did the ship sink, Mama? All of those people – they all died. That’s so sad. Did the kids die too, Mama? Why did they die? I wish it hadn’t sinkeded. I wish they hadn’t died.

It’s as hard for me to explain the big tragedies as it is the little ones. From why 1500 people, including kids younger than him, had to die to why we moved again, and he demands answers because that’s what five year olds do. They question.

A friend of mine recently told me it’s “weird” and “unhealthy” that I feed his interest in the Titanic. Don’t tell him that kids died, she insists, he’ll never want to get on a boat again.

I love history – and like it or lump it, tragedies make for fascinating study. On my bookshelf, you’ll find six books related to the Holocaust and several others on the World Wars and ancient history. F watches documentaries with me. And soon, we’ll be reading Titanic books together – because I’m stocking up on as many kid-friendly books as I possibly can.

When I asked F what he wanted our first “big date” back in Halifax to be, he told me he wanted to go and see the Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the dinosaur exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.

And then, he wants to go to Mable Slab for ice cream.

4 thoughts on “103 Years

  1. I think it is amazing that you go to the lengths you do to feed F ‘s questions. If we stop teaching our children about the tragedies they will never learn about all the good that can also come from it. Everyone that came together to help the people that did survive. The reality is bad things happen, sometimes for no reason, but we sometimes (even 5 year Olds) can do something! . Answer all his questions Ashley and don’t worry what others think. You are a great mom and F is a great kid!


  2. Weird and unhealthy? Sounds like your friend may fit that description. History is were we learn from so that hopefully we don’t make the same mistakes again (especially where human arrogance, fear and misguided hatred are concerned). Would I say to a 5yr old, Come here spawn. Let me tell you about a guy named Adolf and the 4 million people he murdered”? No, but you bet I wouldn’t attempt to hide or deny it.

    Go to the museum. Artifacts are very cool and Finn may just learn something that will make him a better human…sort of like his mom.


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