I had a conversation tonight with my mom about my son, Timmy, who is 18 months old. She inquired about his “separation anxiety” when Daddy leaves, and whether or not he had grown out of it yet. I laughed and said, “No, he is just a snuggly, sensitive kid who loves to be with his family.” She replied, “He’ll grow out of it.” And we both laughed because of course she meant that he would grow out of the screaming at a decibel fit only for jet engines whenever he can-see-but-not-be-held-by Daddy! But her timing insinuated that he would grow out of being snuggly and sensitive…and out of wanting to be with his family. Ugh. Is it possible that those things will go away? I don’t want to imagine it…
But I do imagine all of the things we do let slip away as we get older. Think about it, there are so many qualities we have as young children that seem to just disappear as the years go by. Some of them are bludgeoned out of us by the jeers of other, more jaded children and others just slip silently, breathlessly into the nighttime of our youth never to be heard from again.
One of these qualities is curiosity. My son is full of it. Curiosity is what makes him climb inside the oven…thank god it was off. It makes him walk inside daddy’s closet and shut the door on himself so that he is in a pitch-black room for at least 20 minutes until the silence peaks my curiosity and makes me go look for him. Curiosity makes him lie down in puddles on our back porch and eat sticks. It makes him slam the door to daddy’s closet (essentially a hall closet with a broken latch which makes it bounce back open whenever you try to shut it) 45 times in a row…thud, thud, thud. “Hmmm, what will happen if I do it just one more time?”
My daughter is full of it as well. Curiosity, that is. She has this amazing imagination and loves learning new things. She is enthralled with the animals at the zoo, so we take her as often as we can. (Thank God it is a free zoo – Go St. Louis!) Anyways, she loves to stay at each exhibit for what seems like “hours” to me. I like the zoo because I like walking, I like fresh air and I like to people watch. I am not curious about weird breeds of gophers and the mating habits of New Zealand gnewts! (Sorry all animal worshippers – I like them, I just am not interested in learning about them!) I have very little curiosity. Another area I notice this is on walks. Our neighborhood is awesome and we have a beautiful green park across the street from our house with a small bridge that goes over a little creek, a baseball field, and the lots and lots of trees. Well, Emily and Timmy want to stop and look at everything, pick it up, talk about it and bring it home to Daddy because of course on his walks with them, that is what they do. When I am out walking with the kids I want to get someplace! I want to exercise (imagine)! I want to look at my neighbors’ houses and see what they have done with their landscaping. My child-like curiosity has slipped away and been replaced by that of a suburban soccer mom!
I am curious about the next sale at the department store I love to shop at, and the price that the house down the street sold for, and how many kids we might have. I am curious about what other moms cook when their family has turned up their noses at almost every creative meal she could think of! I am curious as to how other families with only one income seem to not only make ends meet but also go on vacations, buy new things, and do home improvement projects without so much as batting an eyelash! I am curious about what the future holds for our family. I am curious about what my children will grow up to be like and who they will marry, if they will marry. I am curious about a lot of yucky adult stuff that has seemingly kidnapped the innocent curiosity of my youth.
Note to self: I want it back.
Oh, and I pray that my son is always snuggly, always sensitive, and always wants to be with his family.