Photo: One of my favorite things about the Discovery Museum is practically unlimited Keva Planks in the building room. Last time I was there, some other adult had built a structure similar to this one, but shorter. I observed the pattern and then built on it, thinking about it as I went. This week, when I visited for a playdate, we all ended up in the building room for a while and I got to build on my own. Building with Keva is meditation. It takes steadiness and focus, requiring the mind to conceive and the hand to make it so. Next time I go, I’m going to build two towers and connect them. Somehow. I can’t even wait to go back.
Ursa Major brought a question to the dinner table tonight that I wasn’t expecting. It came out of nowhere, though he seemed to be building toward it throughout the meal. When the eating was over and the settling had begun, he presented his question.
“I was wondering. About babies. How did we come out of your tummy without popping it?”
Ursa Minor, quickly answered, “they make a cut right under the chest and before the belly button and then we climbed out!”
The Husband and I were quick to shake our heads at that one.
Ursa Major waited intently for a real answer to come. He gazed at me with a seriousness and a patience that he doesn’t always display. I met his eyes and mirrored his tone. “I’m happy to answer this question, but are you sure you want to know?”
Major nodded his head.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
I answered him truthfully. Not about how a baby gets in there. That’s not necessary right now. But I did, without getting too far in the weeds, answer his wondering. There is a difference in the anatomies. We introduced the “true” vocabulary for that anatomy. I told them that the words were funny, I told them it was perfectly fine for them to giggle if they wanted to. I told them if they had questions, they could talk to me or The Husband. That their questions were fine, and they should ask them to us here at home.
And that’s all he needed. He didn’t want to know more. I pushed the boundaries of his knowledge, blew his mind a little bit, and now he’s resting easy until the next time his mind sets to wondering.
I really try to honor the boys where they are. When they speak, I listen. When they ask, I answer. I try to do it in a way that makes sense for the moment. The world is plenty big enough for them. My job is to help keep the boundaries moving and stretching at pace with their own growth and exploration. The “at pace” part of that sentence is important, and it requires a careful discipline that’s not always easy to sustain. For me, it often means withholding and curating. “They don’t need to know that yet. They don’t need to encounter that yet.” Perhaps I’m doing a disservice in some ways. In other ways, though, I feel like I’m doing ok. Because Major asked and was ready for the answer, it will stick with him. This is a thing he’ll know now. He’ll formulate more questions for further exploration when the time is right. Best of all, he’ll trust that when the time has come to ask, I’ll honor the ask with an answer. Minor, who was silly for this little episode, was still part of it. I think he, in his own way, learned those lessons too.
My Quiet Thoughts tonight are on our own learning boundaries. It never ceases to amaze me how much life still surprises and how much opportunity there is for growth. The difference between childhood and adulthood is that in childhood there is an adult who can help curate and shield. You get a moment of hesitation and choice. “Are you sure you want to know where babies come from?”
There is no such thing in adulthood. There isn’t someone who comes to the door and asks, “are you sure you’re ready to buy a new roof? Are you sure you want to get quotes for getting the driveway paved?” In adulthood, the boundaries still move at pace, but your personal aptitude to move along with them becomes more self-determined. Some days, you can keep up. Other days, Lordy, the goal posts just seem to scream toward the horizon while you put your hands on your knees and catch your breath.
I’m not sure when the crossover in this regard happens. One day, I won’t be able to curate for him anymore. I hope I can get the full curriculum in there before it happens. I suspect, like my teaching days of old, I’ll get to the final exam and remember I have so much more I could have covered.
It’s an early spring night with a reasonable temperature outside! 47 degrees is still plenty chilly, but it is such an improvement over weeks and weeks of nights in the 20s or below. Warm air makes its way slowly to Massachusetts, but it gets here eventually. Spring will be here in full force soon. In the meantime, we had a fox sighting this week, the snow has fully melted from the yard, and the seeds we started in the basement are starting to pop from the soil. Good things are happening if you know were to look, Dear Reader.
On a Friday like this, it’s the perfect time for wishes. I like Fridays like this: transition times. The world is changing, with one season leaving, another coming in. If you’re careful, you can have an encounter with something powerful and beautiful. Keep your heart and mind open for that this weekend, Dear Reader. This weekend, I wish you a bit of creative time. Get at those eggs for baskets if that’s your jam. Paint something pretty or draw something in a card. Spend time arranging your Easter spread just so. Set your table for your Spring family gathering just so. I wish you a bit of time with beloved people–be it at a holiday gathering or something a bit smaller and less formal. Do be with people this weekend, Dear Reader. Recognize your own humanity by being with other people. I wish you something scrumptious, light and fresh: Pesto? Spinach? Spring mix? Asparagus? Whatever it is, I hope it is thoughtfully made and brilliantly executed. Enjoy and enjoy! I wish you two good stories: one you tell and one you hear. Indulge and delight in the words, Dear Reader. Get wrapped up and inspired.
I wish you time to shine brightly, Dear Reader. If you walk a life of faith, I hope you find joy in this weekend of holy mystery and devotion. You don’t have to go to church to find the light that illuminates your way, of course. No matter your beliefs, I firmly believe there is a light in you that shines brightly and serves purpose for others. Don’t forget to walk in love this weekend, serving as a guiding light for those who are watching you. You are loved. Your beauty is infinite. What you do matters. What you give does wonders. Choose to shine your brightest this weekend, Dear Reader. You hold back the darkness and give hope to more than you could possibly know.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.