Sam got her first glimpse of god today. She watched this video with me (which, by the way, is hilarious):
When she saw god, she said, "Mommy, who's that? Is that Santa Claus?" I couldn't contain a little giggle, but then I managed to answer casually, "No. He does kind of look like Santa, but that's supposed to be god. Have you ever heard of people talking about god?" She answered, "No." I explained, "Oh, well he's another imaginary guy." Ha!
Sam is actually starting to get curious about these things. After I told her that god was an imaginary guy, she asked, "How did he get up there? Did he fly?" I just told her, "Good question. I wonder why he's so big, too." I left her to think about that on her own.
A few days ago, she asked me what a ghost is. She's been in love with all things spooky for over a year, and she's been asking me questions about what ghosts say and what they do for ages, but this was the first time she asked, "What is a ghost?" I could tell by her tone that she was grasping for more than, "a white spooky thing that we dress up as on Halloween," so I reminded her about death, and I told her that some people imagine that, after people die, their souls still exist, and that's what ghosts are. I had to also explain "soul" so I told her that your soul is everything inside of you that makes you who you are: your feelings, your thoughts, and everything you decide to do, but not your body. I managed to do this in just two or three short sentences and when I was done, her eyes lit up and she said, "Cool!" I'm not sure exactly how she understands it, but she understands something. I don't mind if she likes the idea of immortal souls - as long as I'm not trying to sell her on the idea, I have confidence that she'll work it out.
As you may have gathered from the Santa comparison, we don't try to sell Sam on the reality of Old Saint Nick, either. We talk about Santa and the reindeer and the chimney, and we read The Night Before Christmas, and most of the time we don't say anything about it not being real. But there have been a couple of times where Sam has asked a question about Santa in relation to reality which required me to say something like, "That's because it's just a story," or "because Santa is something we imagine because it makes Christmas more fun." I can't remember the details - it's only come up a couple of times. But I do remember that last time it did, after I said it was pretend, Sam got very upset and said, "No, mommy. Santa is REAL." I just said, "Oh, ok." I'm glad that I didn't try to convince her otherwise, because the next thing she said was, "He is real. I saw him in the mall."
I can't argue with that!