Reality Check

“Mom, when are we going to go to outer space?”

What? Where did that question come from?

We were driving home one evening admiring the view of the moon peeking through the clouds when Big Brother popped that question at us as matter-of-factly as if he were asking when we get to go to the zoo. Before I could answer, Tim replied, “Well, that’s something you can do when you’re older. But first you have to do lots of school and training…”

He went on and described what it would look like to train to be an astronaut. I was glad he answered before I did. I almost told my son that we don’t get to go to the moon. That’s not something normal people do. I really admired the way his daddy answered him truthfully without crushing him with the weight of reality.

Reality is the worst sometimes, isn’t it? When I was first married I remember one afternoon as I struggled up to our 3rd floor apartment with two full baskets of clean laundry just back from the laundromat. I threw the baskets down on the floor and rejoiced that I was done with the laundry. But then, out of somewhere deep inside my soul, I told myself that I would just have to do it again in two weeks (oh to have those days back when we only had two people to wash for!). And not only that, but again after that, and again for the rest of my life. I almost cried.

I want my kids to hold on to their innocence (a healthy innocence, not just ignorance) of the world for as long as they can. For instance, whenever we are outside the boys try to catch squirrels and birds. C’mon, brother, let’s catch this one! Mom! Watch us, we’re gonna get this bird.

I won’t be the one to break the news to them that no one can just run up and grab a squirrel, or a robin. I can’t. The hopefulness and optimism in their eyes leads me to believe that they can do anything.

Do you remember when you thought you could do anything, or be anything? You were invincible. The world was at your fingertips just waiting for you to leave your mark. I see it in my kids and I long for that perspective again. I think I can get it back. I think it has something to do with dreaming about visiting the moon, and chasing squirrels. My boys will teach me the way.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of Big Brother, taken in April 2011. He’s showing the moon to his daddy.

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