Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Big Questions


Quietly he works on it. Tying and tucking and balancing and getting it just so. Then he moves on to nesting. Blankets and boxes and random bit of jewelry, certain stuffed animals, and the plastic top to a box as a writing desk. Finally he extends the invitation. "Come in mama. Come in to my fort, I made room for both of us."

I peer down wondering how to squeeze my adult proportions into his wee world. Carefully, so as not to literally bring down the house with my bum, I shimmy in. He proudly shows me everything and then asks to lie down. We lay on the floor staring up at blankets and playsilks draped here and there. He lays his head on my chest and starts to talk. And not just a chat about rocket ships and germs and ghosts. He lays into me with the big stuff.

"Mommy, does it hurt when you die?"
"How do you know when you will die?"
"What's on the other side of the universe?"
"Why do people start wars?"
"What's a weapon of mass destruction?" (damn you NPR! Sometimes I don't change the dial fast enough.)
"Why are people bombing and killing in Afganerstam?" (his pronunciation)
"How do you win a war?"
"I wish I was like air so I could live forever and go anywhere I wanted."

*Sigh* He's only 5 and a half. I am not ready for this chat. I try to listen more than talk. I try to say the right thing, but not say too much of anything. I try to hold him and hug peace right into his body. But I know that these things are out there. And I know I can't shelter forever. And I know it's healthy to work through these things, and ask questions, and seek answers, and just ponder the imponderables. We all do it our whole lives. But children are the ones brave and honest enough to say it out loud. And I let him know that mommy doesn't have all of the answers. But more than anything, I am so privileged and so grateful that he trusts me with the questions.

5 comments:

Joy said...

That's hard. I remember Elizabeth asking me around election time why Obama thought it was ok to kill babies?! (I won't mention where she got that from, but I was livid.) You're so great with doling out just the right amount of info at the right time that I'm sure you handle his questions with grace. Love the fort. :)

PositivelyOrphaned said...

I'm still asking those same questions, too, Zach.

Nicole Spring said...

Oh wow, I would not have expected those questions either.
You gave an amazing response,I have no clue what I would have done,he is such a fortunate boy!!

Susanna Joy said...

Oh, my heart. Precious boy. Annabella's had some zingers, too. Lately, about my parent's divorce-- she found old family photos from when I was a kid. I think parents are given a special grace in those moments if they're really open to it. Tender, wise, and minimal words can come... as appropriate. But man, right to the heart.

Little Lovables said...

what a precious moment

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