Tag Archives: life lessons

Evidence to the Extraordinary

1148842_10208627096139354_7457672424392982317_n

“Is sasquatch real?” Quinn asks, out of breath, as she runs up to me. I’m sitting at the table drawing faces on marshmallows we’re about to roast. Is sasquatch real?

 

There’s a part of me – that quick gut reaction part – that tries to quickly blurt out, “No,” just so I don’t get embroiled in an endless conversation of “Why? Why? Why?” with my five year old. But instead I bite. “Is sasqatch real? That is a very interesting question because it doesn’t have an answer. Have you ever heard of a question that doesn’t have an answer before?”

 

She shakes her head no. Quinn is very inquisitive and both her memory and ability to comprehend large concepts is sometimes frightening. She looks at me with wide eyes and crunched eyebrows. I can tell that she understands she’s breaking new ground.

 

“Well, Quinn. Some people believe in sasquatch and some people don’t.”

“Why?”

“Because there is no proof of him. Do you know what proof is?”

“No.”

“It’s something you can say is real. I have proof that this marshmallow is real because I’m holding it in my hand and I can touch it and I can see it and feel it. Another name for proof is evidence.”

“And you can tell that I am real because you can see me?

“That’s right! You’re very smart.”

“So sasquatch is not real because nobody can see him.”

 

This is where it gets tricky. How do you nurture a sense of awe and wonder in a child while still painting an accurate portrait that they will understand without drowning them in information? That’s a tall request. How do you explain how large the galaxy is to a child that doesn’t have true concept of what a mile looks like? It all needs to be boiled down to these very simple kernels of truth.

12604810_10208791877218778_4572677454549231245_o

 

“Sasquatch might be real because nobody has ever seen him. I know that’s a big idea for you. Nobody has ever seen him so we cannot say with certainty that he is real or false.”

“Can you look it up on your phone?”

 

I appreciate that Quinn views my phone as a gateway to all knowledge and truth because, at its core, that is exactly what the internet is. The Great Digital Oracle.

 

“The answer is not on my phone. Nobody knows the true answer.”

“There are no pictures?”

“Yes, there are pictures but nobody knows if they’re real or faked.”

“Like a man in a suit?”

“Your astuteness frightens me sometimes.”

“Oh! Thanks, Dad. What is uh-stood-ness?”

“Lots of questions. Let’s not get side-tracked. You should also know that there are some people that say they’ve seen sasquatch and have touched him but most other people say that they just made it up.”

“Why would they do that?”

“I don’t know. Publicity?”

“What is publicity?”

“It’s like when you do something so that a lot of people hear about you.”

“Why?”

“Because some people like to be the center of attention.”

“Why?”

“Alright, listen. Let’s focus on one thing. Ready? What did we learn? Sasquatch is . . .”

“Maybe real.”

“Because . . .”

“Nobody has seen him and we cannot prove it.”

“That’s right. It’s just a story until someone has . . .”

“Evidence.”

“Bingo.”

 

I pick up my marker and start coloring in the eyeballs on my marshmallow, creating life.

 

Quinn scratches her head with comically large actions. It’s like a very theatrical cartoon character taught her what it looks like when people “think”. Lots of head rubbing and going, “Ummmmm.”

 

“Yes, Quinn? Do you have another question?”

 

“Is God real?”

 

I set down my marshmallow and look into its flat, lifeless eyes and wonder if she intentionally sets me up.

12525135_10208791877258779_1816243274662797094_o

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dinner Table Stock Exchange

craving1

My wife, being 4 weeks away from dropping calf on our third child, has, surprisingly, not had any pregnancy cravings, strange or otherwise.  No pickled pig snouts.  No watermelon sushi.  No salmon au gratin.  Nothing.  She enjoys one small bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios every evening before bed, but, I believe, this is only to curb her cravings for red wine and hard liquor.

My sister, who recently had a baby, hates bacon… or rather, hated bacon… until she got pregnant.  In her entire life, she claims to have eaten only four or five slices, a statistic that, frankly, baffles me.  As a constant purveyor of turkey bacon, which is supposed to be healthier, even I enjoy some thick slices of pork candy from time to time.

During her second trimester she called to tell me that she couldn’t stop eating it.  She told me she was eating bacon every day, sometimes more than once a day.  She and her husband (but mostly just She) were going through packages and packages and packages of this product that, three months prior, she detested and couldn’t even stand the smell of.

Nevertheless, it was somewhere during this phone call wherein she told me that she’d just read an article about pregnancy cravings and that, truly, I should be properly warned.  “Cigarette butts,” she says, “Soap,” she says, “Dirt,” she says.  “Women are eating these things.”

In my mind I try to imagine being pregnant and sitting alone at some kitchen table, an ashtray in front of me with a few stale cigarettes resting inside of it.  I try to imagine what it would take to eat one.  Not just the taste.  Not just the texture.  What would it TAKE for you to overcome every human nature and instinct and pick up an old cigarette butt and eat it?  I imagine glancing suspiciously over my shoulders just to make sure no one is home.  I mean, I know no one is home but still… I’m feeling a little guilty about getting ready to eat this ashy wand.

I pick it up in my hand and smell it, running it under my nose like a fine cigar or piece of garlic bread.  Yum.  I lift the cigarette to my lips and bite down on it.  It doesn’t crunch but rather just goes limp in the middle where my teeth hit.  I have to tear it in half like a piece of over cooked beef jerky.  The filter is in my mouth and I’m chewing like a yak and the door opens and my husband (because in my imagination, in this specific scenario, I am a woman) says to me, “What are you doing?” and I say, “I don’t know,” and then I weep and fall into his arms and he holds me and strokes my hair and caresses my cheek and — never mind.

The point is, we all have things we love to eat that may appear strange to others.  Personally, I like to take chocolate cake, put it in a bowl, pour milk over it, mash it up and eat it like a freaking gruel.  However, conversely, I can’t stand peas.  Overcooked, undercooked, raw, fresh, canned.  My wife asks what I don’t like about them and I say, “Taste and texture,” which pretty much covers every quality there is about a pea, what with them lacking proper personalities and all.

But, being the dad that I am, when my wife prepares dinners and she uses peas, I choke them down my tightened gullet, fighting every gag reflex inside of me just to be a good example to my children.  I figure that they’ll develop their own complexes soon enough and they don’t need me to help them along.  But today, at this lunch, something is different.  I just… can’t do it.  I’m staring at the macaroni and cheese with peas mixed in on my plate and it seems like the ratio is all screwed up.  It’s not a fair 80/20 split of noodles to peas, instead it seems closer to a 50/50 mix and… I close my eyes and take a bite.  I try to smile but imagine I look more like a rapist trying to pass as a human in Christmas photos.  My wife says, “What’s wrong?” And I open my eyes and she’s just staring at me.  She puts her fork down and says, “Why do you look like a rapist?” and I say, “Uh… the peas.  There’s just… so many,” and she says, “Well, I just want you to know that I wasn’t even going to make you lunch.  You… were an afterthought.”

Well!

I mumble something to myself about “…afterthought you and pillow over your face while you sleep,” and she says, “What?” and I say, “I shall try my best to feast upon these peas.  Long live the pea.  God Bless You!”  I ask my son if I can have a drink of his water and he says, “Nope.  This is my water,” and, while I don’t agree with that statement or his decision, I do respect it.  I encourage the children to share but don’t force them to.  I say, “But I’m really thirsty,” and Rory says, “That’s your coffee,” and he points and he’s correct.  Coffee with peas.  Gross.  I sound like a pregnant lady.

I take a bite and cringe again.  Bugs are popping in my mouth, little beetles exploding.  I gag and swallow and then begin to mechanically separate my food, peas from noodles, into two separate piles.  “Are you… are you kidding me?” my wife asks, like I would think this is a very clever joke.  I say, “No.”  She says, “You’re setting a bad example,” and I say, “I know… I know… but I just… I just can’t.  This,” and I wave my hand over my plate, “Is not happening.”

Jade turns to the kids and says, “You’re eating so good.  You’re eating your peas so good!” and I echo her and the kids echo both of us and then, like lightning, an evil plot hatches in my tiny brain.

I turn to Rory and I say, “Rory… Rory, would you like to have some of daddies peas?!” and his eyes get really big because he loves eating anything that comes from my plate.  “Do you want Daddy’s peas!?” and he says, “Yeah!  Peas!” and I start shoveling them into his bowl, ladle after ladle, load after load.  Jade raises her eyebrow to me, questioning my motives.

I say, “Good job, eat all those peas!” and he’s so excited to be getting all these little green gifts showered down upon him.  His lunch goes from a fair 50/50 split to mostly just a mound of peas with a few scattered noodles…  And then, like a snake in the grass, I slither in for the kill, “Daddy loves you so much!  Daddy loves you so much that he wants to share his delicious peas with you!  Daddy loves to share!  Sharing is so nice!” and Rory says, “Sharing is nice!  Daddy’s being a good boy!” and I say, “That’s right!” and my wife says, “Hmmmm….”

bowl of peas

I finish emptying all of the peas into his bowl and I gently say, “Rory… Daddy has given you all of his delicious peas,” and he says, “Thank you, Daddy,” and I say, “You’re welcome… And all I ask in return, all I ask, is for a drink of your water.”  And this boy that just moments before covetously gripped his cup to his chest in blatant refusal to commune with me, now eagerly grabs his chalice of life giving drink and thrusts it at me.

“I will share, Daddy!  Rory a good boy!”

“That’s right,” I say, “You are a good boy.”  And then I turn to Jade and I say, “And you were right as well.  I am setting an example for the children.”

She raises another eyebrow and sort of half smiles while I wash the disgusting taste from my mouth and finish my noodles.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,