Kids are very literal. At least, mine are.
When my kids ask questions, I often answer what I interpret as their question, rather than their actual question. Oftentimes, it turns out, they just want an answer to their question, the one they actually asked, not the one from my imagination.
Sometimes it is difficult for me to hear the question they are asking, because my mind automatically jumps three steps ahead. I have to train myself to repeat the questions in my head, to make sure I am really hearing what the kids are asking. By answering their questions literally, I avoid making assumptions about what they might "really be asking."
When my kids ask me cancer questions, I have to listen even more carefully, to make sure I really do answer their questions. I worry that there are other, more difficult, issues that concern my kids. So far, I seem to be the only one delving that deep.
My kids are not usually concerned with my existential questions; they just want to know if anything is going on that will mess up their plans for the coming week.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,