Ask the Internet

I’m sitting at the computer, searching for answers to questions Peanut has asked this week. When he asks me something I can’t answer, I save his queries on my phone for a calm moment at home. Then we sit down together and search for answers at least once a week. Part of the process is teaching him how to search for answers in a post-encyclopedia era. And part of the process is nestling next to each other and staring at a screen.

It’s unreasonable, I know, to make the learning process into a fear about some day losing him. But that’s where my brain goes when he’s not in the room. When he wants to know something, I can help him, but too much of the time he’s with someone else, asking someone else, exploring the world without me. And it will only get larger, the chasm of time that exists between moments that I get to see him. Breakfast…blink…almost dinner. I can’t help but think, as we find photos of icebergs and technical discussions of cave extraction, that he’s with me for so short a time. And I ache with the thought that some day he’ll be gone. I want to tell him all the things and listen to his every thought and absorb the way he thinks. And I know that sounds creepy and it’s probably just early-morning-me waxing affectionate about a wonderful creature who will frustrate me to within an inch of my life over the next 13 hours. But my love for my children grabs me at quiet moments and shakes me until my teeth chatter and my brain liquifies.

I want our lives full of wonder and exploration and creation. But how to create that when our days are chock full of getting ready and doing chores and running errands and doing things that need to be done? All of us. Not just my family, but every adult human on the planet. Paying bills and getting to work or looking for a job. Preparing food, cleaning up, making appointments, taking the bus.

So much of life is drudgery. How do we find enough magic to get us through the inane tasks?  How much wonder does a child need so that she arrives at adulthood appreciating life and marveling at the world enough to want to take care of it? How much wonder do we need to create to engage them?

I have tabs open so we can read through a slideshow of megaliths, glaciers, and base jumping technical equipment. And I  marvel at how far we’ve come from my childhood when you took questions to the encyclopedia at the library. I wonder what life and technology and knowledge will look like when my children are grown.

And gone.

See what my brain does? “How to get through, is this enough, are we enough, this is nice, my children will leave.”

Anybody else turn a question about glaciers into a panic that this moment is fleeting and that loved ones will change, grow, and drift away?

Can’t just be me, right?

Doesn’t matter, I guess. It’s almost time for him to wake up and make me pancakes. It’s the least he can do, since I’m going to show him what the Internet has to say about cave extraction techniques and since he will someday need to make pancakes for himself…and probably someone special. Oh, geez. I need to go breathe into a paper bag.

10 thoughts on “Ask the Internet

    • Oh, thank you, Bethany. I really did think I was crazy. It’s just Stonehenge, for heaven’s sake. It’s not supposed to make me think about Universal truths about the passage of time.
      Oh, wait…yes, it is.

  1. The thing is, so long as they’re asking the questions, and you’re finding the answers together, you’re reinforcing that tether. Twenty years from now, it will be much easier (and natural and comfortable) to call mom with a glacier question because that’s how the answers have always been found.

    and the best way we can ensure they approach life with minimal drudgery, I believe, is to model a life in which we approach every day with the minimal drudgery.

  2. We always, always do this. I thought it would ease up – that fear. It changes a little, but it doesn’t go away. My “babies” are now 22 and 20 respectfully, just home for the holidays, and I even recognize how the old fear is present, still. It’s part of loving them. It just “is.”


    • And the increasing independence, of course, was not cataclysmic. They grew, learned, separated, and it was all slow and reasonable. For some reason that going to college thing strikes me as a giant monument in the middle of our path. Not an obstacle, not a precipice. But ginormous in scope and scale.

      Maybe that’s just from watching too many movies. ;-)

      Hugs accepted and returned, Wolfie.

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