Do you know The Muffin Man? Because I sure do. Yes...I know The Muffin Man.
Before Gabriel turned two, The Muffin Man was his very favorite song. We listened to it on repeat in the car over and over and over and over again. It didn't matter if the trip was five minutes long or five hours, we listened to The Muffin Man from start to finish. And Gabe sang along jovially every single time. At first it was cute. And because it's a festive little song, he'd get a kick out of it when we sang along with him.
Eventually, though, we grew tired of The Muffin Man. We tried our hardest to introduce other songs that he might also take a liking to. But, ulitmately, he'd make yet another request for The Muffin Man.
"Oh God..." one of us would mutter begrudgingly as we pushed play for the millionth time.
But as soon as he heard the intro, Gabe's blue eyes would light up, his head would bob back and forth, and his feet would kick to the beat against his car-seat as he belted out the off-tune lyrics. Every time, our initial feeling of disdain for the song would be replaced with endearing sentiment. The Muffin Man made our little boy happy. How could that be a bad thing?
Then one day we were visiting my dad in rural Michigan. We were taking Gabe on a golf cart ride around Dad's property when we stumbled upon a dead mole that had been stabbed by one of my dad's traps. I thought it was pretty gruesome for a little boy to see, so I covered Gabe's eyes with my hands. Unfortunately, I was a little too late.
"Ewwww, Mommy! What's that?" Gabe wanted to know.
"It's a dead mole, honey," I told him with regret.
"What's dead mean, Mommy?" Gabe asked curiously.
"It means he went up to heaven to live with God, sweetie," I tried to explain to him in a way that wouldn't scare him.
He looked at me, his eyes wide with surprise. Then, strangely enough, a great big smile covered his face. "You mean The Muffin Man?!" he asked, wild with excitement.
I was confused. I looked to Craig for help, but he was just as caught off guard by Gabe's random question as I was.
But then it hit me: Every time Gabe requested The Muffin Man in the car, either Craig or I responded with a dreadful "Oh God..." in negative anticipation of the amount of times we'd be forced to listen to the song on repeat. As a result of our sarcastic attitudes, our son now believed that God was The Muffin Man.
"Yep, Gabe," I reassured him. "He went to live with The Muffin Man. So say a little prayer for him that he's having a good time on Drury Lane."
"Okay, Mommy!" Gabe agreed enthusiastically.
Craig, my dad and my step-mom looked at me curiously. I told them I would explain my revelation later. When I did, they couldn't stop laughing. And while it was funny, I knew I had some work ahead of me. First and foremost, Craig and I were in need of attitude adjustments. Who were we to complain about something so simple that brought our little boy so much joy? And, eventually, I would have to figure out a way to break it our innocent son that God was not actually The Muffin Man. But for the time being...my white lie comforted his first experience with death. And I don't think God or The Muffin Man minded.