When I sit down on the couch–after exhausting my pregnant body whirlwinding around the house with the vacuum, the laundry basket, the dishrag–I think, What do I have to say to this blank page on my screen? My life story? My grocery list? Both sound plain to my thoughts' ears. Then a question from a different corner: What will my child ask me?
The countless Whys go skipping by, like a troop of children on pogo sticks. Why is the sky blue? Why can't I find the end of the rainbow? Why do I have eyebrows? Why didn't Daddy have to eat all of his salad? Why was I in your belly- did you swallow me? I imagine no pause between with any chance for my response. Then I imagine a great long pause at the end of the stream of questioning, a small and earnest face looking up at me, and a moment when I wonder if the questions need answering.
Do I answer scientifically? Do I make up fantastical responses? (The sky is blue because it's one eye of a great blue-eyed giant, whose pupil is the sun, who stares down at us through a magnifying glass to see what we do all day.) Do I say I don't know or I'll tell you when you are older? Do I say Ask your father?–great for the salad question. Do I say Figure it out for yourself? Do I smile and change the subject?–who wants ice cream?! Maybe all of the above?
What if my child worries like I do and did–even when very young? Why do we have to have money–Why can't people just do stuff for each other? Why do people get mad and hurt people? Why do other kids say mean things to me? Why do I have bad dreams? Why doesn't Jesus come? Yes. I will say why, too.
Maybe I will ask my child questions: Why do you keep growing taller? Why is your laugh contagious? Why do you have five toes on each foot? Why do you have your daddy's desire to take things apart? Why do you wake up at 5 every morning? Why do you love me so much?
And then I will write down all of his or her answers and fill my blank page with happiness and child insight. And maybe I won't vacuum, or do laundry, or wash dishes for one afternoon. Maybe two.