Lucy is learning about all the holidays both at home and in school, and it's fun. So when this third Monday in January rolled around, I tried to explain why she has the day off of school and I don't have to work. Here's how it went:
Me: We're celebrating the birthday of a man named Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lucy: Why? What does he do?
Me: OK, you know how some people have lighter skin like we do and some people have darker skin like Osceana and Ms. Jackie and Mr. Michael do? Well, it's kind of unbelievable, but some people don't like the people with darker skin.
Lucy: (openmouthed in surpise) Why? Why wouldn't they like them?
Me: I don't know; it's crazy. But Martin Luther King was a pastor, and he stood up and said it was wrong, and that everybody should like everybody else, no matter what color their skin is.
Lucy: Did Martin Luther King have light skin or dark skin?
Me: He had dark skin.
Lucy: And tomorrow we're telling him happy birthday?
Me: (deep breath) Well, yes, but...here's the sad part. Some bad people who didn't like Martin Luther King and didn't like people with dark skin shot him.
Lucy: They shot him? With a gun? Did they kill him? Is he dead?
Me: (now realizing I'm in way over my head) Yeeeessss. But honey, this happened a long time ago. Even before Mommy was born. It's really a good day. It's a day to celebrate the good things he did.
Lucy: THEY SHOT THE PASTOR?!? AND HE'S DEAD?
Valentine's Day can't get here soon enough.