I am working hard to get into the minds of my children as they plague me with a variety of the persistent questions beginning with the word "why?" I welcome the word when it is followed by innocent, inquisitive words like "did The Fresh Beat Band get a new Marina?" But as they get older their questions get harder. I had to explain cancer last week, and their devoted prayers to baby Wynn McBrayer have opened up a great deal of questions about life and death and why God just won't make that sweet boy's arteries grow. Some questions I don't have answers for, but I always try to be honest and admit when I don't know.
Some days the "why" is an endless, annoying, whiny, high-pitched tirade of "why does he get more computer time? Why does he get juice first? Why does Scout get to stay up while we're resting? Why are boogers sometimes brown?" Sometimes when I offer them bonus points for picking up toys, I'm presented with the question, "Why does he get to pick up more toys than me?" Seriously? Five seconds ago you were throwing a tantrum because I asked you to pick up any toys, and now you want to file a complaint about being denied the right to pick up more?
My solution is usually to usher them off to their beds for some much needed rest and regrouping while I tend to Scout or relish in the all-too-short moments of quiet. As I sit here, I have my own list of "whys" I would present to the world if it was still permissable and socially acceptable for me to adopt a childish disposition. Assuming you'll play along with me and indulge me to pretend such is the case, here is a list of my questions. Imagine them spoken in a frustrated tone that fully conveys the injustice I feel.
1. Why do I provide my daughter with a delicious lunch followed by S'mores Goldfish only to have her methodically feed them one by one to the dog?
2. Why did God choose to give me such a big mouth that all too often has one or more of my feet shoved into it?
3. Why didn't my husband and I come up with the solution of a secret signal when my filter starts to fail years ago? I could have been spared so much embarrassment. (I can't reveal our new trick for fear you guys will catch on while we're in the middle of a conversation.)
4. Why does my husband have better hair (and eyelashes) than I do? Such a waste. I mean, he can't even put mascara on. Well, I guess he could if it was Halloween or he was living a double life as a tranny. Maybe I can convince him to try it out just one time to satisfy my envious curiosity.
5. Why can't someone invent some kind of cream or non-invasive procedure that restores pre-pregnancy boobs? I'm just saying. Potential millions to be made, people.
6. Why do I always, always, always have some disgusting, sticky, unidentifiable food substance in my hair at all times? Seriously, I've ceased to be embarrassed about it when people point it out. Maa...that's just ravioli again.
7. Why can't it be automatic for mommies to accept playdate invitations to the pool or beach with a "Yes, I'm attending, and I'll be wearing a modest tank suit today." This declaration could spare mommies who dared to bare the shameful title of Hooker Mom in a Bikini. Thank goodness my closest friends and I have developed a rapport that warrants this information essential and provides it without fail or judgment. I have gladly donned my two-piece in order to save a friend's dignity when she found herself swimming in a pool full of tank suits AND one full coverage surf suit.
Tomorrow will bring on another onslaught of whys from my little ones, and I'll tell you I'm secretly glad to be able to respond. What a joy it is for me to have their trust and desire for my opinion. I hope my relationships with them remain strong and honest as they grow because I know their questions for me (and my questions for myself) will only get harder as the years progress. What is your "why" question today? I would love for you to share.