I am at a difficult stage with my 4-year-old son right now. He likes to ask questions. Sometimes he asks the question multiple times because I don’t give an answer he wants. Sometimes it isn’t always a question I can answer. I feel like I’ve said “I don’t know” so many times, that it is just becoming a reflex. And THAT is starting to affect me mentally. I went to college, right? I know how the world works, yet when my son and I are travelling down the freezer section in the supermarket and he asks which way grandma’s house is, I stand, just as frozen as the items within the freezer doors. I turn towards him with a furrowed brow, half of me unable to believe he is asking this question for the 100th time today and the other half picturing a compass so I can remember which way is East. Or what about yesterday, when I couldn’t explain how tornadoes work. What kind of a mom am I that I tend to dismiss his questions and not really try my darnedest to educate him? Whenever my son’s questions catch me off guard, my mind always goes back to that silly triangle game they have at Cracker Barrel. Congratulations, mom. You’re an ignora-moose. Even my daughter has noticed how inquisitive her brother is. She cracked me up yesterday when she said “Jonny keeps asking questions. For the rest of his life, apparently.” (Apparently also happens to be her new favorite word.)
Oh, yes I’m aware of the technological age we live in. I know I can just ask Google, but goodness, what does that teach my son? Honestly, I can’t decide if today’s technology is a useful tool or an educational cop-out. I know his questions are part of the learning process. I know that he needs to keep asking these questions to fully understand. But what really bothers me, that with my background education and writing “talents”, I find myself struggling to put certain things into words, and I feel like an ignora-moose once again. I wonder, was the phrase “Because I said so” developed by a parent who really couldn’t put a good reason into words?
Perhaps some of you want to tell me, “He’s 4. Get over it.” Or are you thinking, “Wait til he’s a teenager. She’ll be begging for this time with him later.”? I am aware that time is passing very quickly. The other day, I thought to myself “At what point will my son no longer be afraid of hand dryers in public bathrooms?” That one question sent me on a whirlwind, and I started listing off multiple “at what point” scenarios. “At what point will he stop bringing me pretend cups of coffee?” “At what point will my daughter stop wanting to color with me?,” And then came one of the most painful triggers of all…”At what point will I stop seeing that sunshine face every morning?” I defy anyone to not smile back when my boy flashes what I call his “sunshine face”. When he smiles at me, I see a boy that is surrounded by a glow of pure joy. Oh, the feels, right? Ask whatever you want, baby. Please don’t take my sunshine away. Funnily enough, right as I was starting the first draft of this blog, my daughter came home with her first loose tooth. Talk about a reality check.
It is not easy to keep myself in check when it comes to enjoying my kid’s childhood. Every day I tell myself to enjoy them and soak up every minute, but other factors constantly get in the way. It’s true that my kids will grow up quicker than I can say “Closest college campus”, but the incessant questions still continue to grate on my sanity. It is very obvious when I am not appreciative of the many blessings God has given me. Although I don’t always follow my own advice, the fact that I acknowledge the right attitude more often than not, it makes this difficult stage easier.
I laughed when I realized that when I pray, my questions bear a reflection to the exchanges between me and my son. I told God, “Oh, Father, you must find your people delightful. It’s a wonder you don’t throw your hands up and ignore us when our complaints and doubtful questions become so incessant.” The truth is, God does delight in our prayers, provided they are in the right spirit:
“Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)
He calls us to “Pray without ceasing.” and to “Hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 21) Just as it feels necessary for my little Jonny to keep up the interrogation, it is the same for us to be deliberate in our walk with God. From the continual reading of the Bible to not giving up on the desires of our heart, repetition can reveal who God truly is and how much he loves us. So, I will ask humbly of my Father, and “hold fast” to family and motherhood. What’s that honey? Um….ask your daddy. 😋