While sitting on the couch and watching TV the other day, a commercial came on for a documentary on Abraham Lincoln and his assassination. Joseph turned and looked at me, his eyes wide. “Someone shot President Lincoln?” he asked horrified.
I was stymied. I know they’ve been learning about various Presidents in school, but I had no idea they hadn’t covered the tiny little fact that Lincoln was shot.
“Yes,” I said slowly.
“Why?” His eyes widened even further. “He is one of my favourite Presidents!”
“It’s a little complicated.”
“But he is a great President!”
His use of present tense was starting to concern me. “Honey, you know that he lived a long time ago, right?”
“Yes, Mama,” he said with a no-duh tone.
“Oh good. I was worried.”
“But why did someone shoot him?”
“Because they didn’t like what he did.”
“But he did good things. Did someone shoot George Washington too?”
“Oh no! Not at all.” I wracked my brain. Did he get shot during the war? Does that count or is it only assassinations that would count?
“Oh good,” he said relief in his voice. “I’d hate it if my other Presidents were shot. How did he die?”
“Old age, sweetie.” I didn’t want to tell him his other favourite President died after being on horseback in the cold and developing an illness. I’d never get him outside the house again.
We spoke for a few more minutes about both men and then he was distracted by a commercial for a brownie pan he thinks I need. Still, the whole thing makes me excited to share history with him. We’ll just gloss over some of the more horrifying bits for the time being.