We were all gone for the past week, Derek and I to South Carolina and the kids to their grandparents' house. I have lots and lots of stories and photos to share, several days' worth, unless I get tired of talking about it and abruptly stop posting. Actually, that sounds more like me, so just in case, I have to tell you this: I had Nutella-flavored gelato in Charleston. I am a changed woman. Swoon.
Rather than starting at the beginning, I'll begin at the end and tell you what it's been like since we got back. No, it hasn't been the re-entry hell that so often accompanies a return to home and routine, but it has given me fresh ears to hear the incessant, I'm talking NON-STOP questions our children ask. One day, while we were away, Derek and I called his parents to talk to the children. The first thing his mom said to me was, "How many times a day do you say, 'What?'?"
It's true. Our three children could teach graduate level courses on interrogation (verbal interrogation; the state of Iowa frowns on juvenile waterboarding), and sadly, I have only myself to blame. When Adelaide was little and I was still a naive, fresh-faced mother I decided I would encourage inquisitiveness, and answer every question I could to the absolute best of my ability. Then we had Atticus and I was still adorably quixotic and encouraged still more questions- "How else will they learn?" I chirped.
Two years later we had Caedmon, I arrived at my current state of chronic befuddlement, and the questions kept coming, times a million, because answering a child's question is like blowing on a seeding dandelion- a hundred more are spawned from a single breath. I am eager and enthusiastic for right about one hour every morning, then I become like that horse I rode at 4-H camp: old and sway-backed, sleep-walking my way through the trail, relentlessly chased by my children's need to know how absolutely everything ever created works and why.
We were reunited with our darling children Saturday morning. By Saturday evening, I was spent. I had answered more questions than Google. I readied the little'uns for bed, jammies, teeth-brushing, the works. I read them a bible story, one about Jesus healing a blind man. I attempted to frame intelligent answers to thoughtful questions: "What's a Pharisee?" "Where's Judea?" "Can blind people open their eyes?" "So even Jesus's spit was holy? What about his snot? Could his snot heal the owie on my knee?" "Was Jesus's human body divine, too? Or was it God dwelling in it that made it holy?"
And so it was that I found myself saying "NO MORE JESUS QUESTIONS," and not feeling even a tiny bit guilty about it, because I have since found that saying, "I don't know- you should ask God when you get to heaven," defers a full quarter of their questions. I do feel a tiny bit guilty about that, because they have a lot of questions saved up already. God's not going to know what hit him when these children of ours show up. He'll have to create a new heavenly department, headed up by an angel incapable of developing headaches.