Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Theory of Relativity

When I was sixteen I used to think a lot about the mysteries of life, the universe, death, all of the important why's. I would sit in our driveway at night during the summer, the smell of warm asphalt all around me, and I'd stare at the stars and wonder.
Sometime during college, or maybe it was after, after reading Socrates and Foucault, I stopped wondering so much. The question of why became one of how: how will I pay the rent? How will I find a job? How will I manage to record Melrose Place and still go out to meet my friends? My universe became simultaneously larger and smaller, my mind cluttered with so many pressing issues that I didn't question beyond what was there. I haven't sat in a driveway at night to stare at the stars in years.
Zoey smells like warm asphalt sometimes, when she's been running around and around for no reason at all. I grab her mid-leap and bury my nose in the top of her head. Where did she come from? This little being that I made. If matter can neither be created nor destroyed, where was her energy before all of this nonsense of a name, an address, a social security card? Why her? Why me? Why?
My father once told me a story about a psychologist that had a three year old child and a newborn baby. The three year old was in the baby's room unsupervised, but the parents could hear him talking via the baby monitor. "Tell me about God," he whispered to the newborn, "I'm beginning to forget."
This could well be woo-woo, flakey whoa, roll of the eyes and shake it off to pay the electric bill. Maybe it is. But lately I've been asking Zoey if she remembers being a baby, and she says yes. I ask her if she remembers being in my tummy, and she says yes. Then I ask her if she remembers what was before, but I get no answer at all. Zoey also remembers saving the Big Red Chicken because she saw it on Dora that morning, so again, what does it mean? Probably nothing. Still. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed and for the first time since a long time I am full of wonder. And why. And thank god for all of the questions.

16 comments:

Petunia said...

The little boy's words stopped me dead. Truly, an "oh wow" moment. Children continue to amaze me. It's too bad the world forces them to forget so much so soon.

Jen said...

You're deep man...

Jules said...

The 3 year old's comment freaked me out. I think I would have passed out had I been there.

But, yes, so many questions. Mine never stopped, really. Like matter, they were just displaced for a while.

Patois said...

I was you at 16, too, doing that exact same thing. I love that story your dad told you. I wish they could tell us. I really do.

Misplaced Country Girl said...

Oh sweet Zoey with the boo boo on her knee and shoes on the wrong feet! No wonder you love her so much. That was a really great post.

Megan said...

I'd kill to be able to get inside the head of a little kid. It must be really fascinating, so much going on, the brain is such a sponge from birth to age 3 and even 5. Before they talk you have no clue what they are thinking, but so much is happening- neurons and synapses constantly firing, connections being made, but you don't truly know what they have going on in there until they begin to verbally articulate, and even then so much is highly mysterious, isn't it?

Minxy Mimi said...

How fascinating... Children are such wells of information and wonderment. My son "remembers" waiting to be my baby up on his cloud...

Vanessa said...

I fear I'm beginning to forget as well. I hadn't thought of it that way until I read what you wrote. Very inspirational. Time to wake up!

Jillian, Inc said...

Children are just so amazing. I found you through another blog I read (Daily Mayhem) because...I recently deleted my entire blog my mistake and she said the same thing happened to you and you were able to recover your posts! I was able to get my template back up and running but so far no help from Blogger. Any hints or suggestions appreciated! Thank you so much.

Petunia Face said...

Jillian, Inc--The only way I recovered my posts is because an awesome reader sent them to me in her Google Reader. That, and I also had a few in my email box (you can have them emailed to you once published).
Blogger was never helpful at all. The news I got from them was basically: you're screwed.

I suggest pleading with any readers who might have them in a feedburner.

Good luck! I know how very much it sucks to delete your blog!

xo,
S

Aartee said...

I love the story of the 3 yr old boy...It's amazing how kids are much smarter then we sometimes give them credit for...

Black Hockey Jesus said...

I love it when my kids make me feel all weird and wondery.

The Lil Bee said...

"Tell me about God," he whispered to the newborn, "I'm beginning to forget."

I love that.

And it reminds me of something you once said... "Was it warm in there?" or something to that effect. So sweet that she always says yes:)

Kwana said...

Thanks for this post. You've given me another great reminder of a moment with my daughter at three. I'll have to blog about it sometime. You're always doing that!

monkey said...

i've been thinking and thinking about this. the inherent knowledge in our little humans and why it is we forget as we get older.

sarah said...

thanks for this post. There are days when I lose sight a little bit of the wonder of my little man. I appreciate the reminder to pay attention to it and savor it.