The Long Drive Home

Do you ever pick up your children from school and you ask them “How was your day?” and they say “fine”? And then you ask them, “So what did you do at school?” and they say “nothing” and their voice carries a warning that this blatantly unconstitutional interrogation will not be tolerated for much longer?
I was that kid, and I’m still that kid. I don’t want you to ask me about my day, and I don’t want to know about your day, either. Don’t worry, I WILL want to tell you how things went, and I WILL want to hear about how things went with you.
But not thirty seconds after finishing a day filled with activities like tying one kid’s shoes sixty-three times and telling people why we can’t climb OVER the bookshelves to get to the door to go to recess even though we could save ourselves so much time. Just imagine that day, and then ask yourself why some people need to debrief for a few minutes after it.
The other day I was driving home from school with my two children. It’s about a seven minute drive.
And there I was, inside my brain wondering if tomorrow I will post pictorial interpretations of the consequences of climbing over classroom furniture, when I realized that I was also having a conversation with my children.
Well, not exactly a conversation, really, more like a question and answer period. They were lobbing them at me at a pace that could only be described as unreasonably fast.
The Good Mom part of my brain appeared to be receiving the queries and trying to come up with decent answers so as to not to disturb the other part that was hibernating, since rousing it awake wouldn’t result in anything productive or friendly.
Unfortunately, Good Mom was absolutely tanking, and the children were starting to reject pat answers such as “Wow, you are going to have to Google that one today!”
I decided to make a mental list of all of these questions because not only do they provide a glimpse into the wide and deep range of my children’s thoughts, but a demonstration of Things I Deal With Every Day:
Who invented beagles?
If your best friend had a zombie virus and he wanted to die and it was the apocalypse and he was going to die anyway, would you kill him?
What’s the biggest iceberg in the world called?
Who names their dog Sticky Buns, anyway?
Is it still cannibalism if it’s a matter of survival?
What did you say, mom?
Why/Why not?
But why/why not?
Remember when you were a tired mom of two toddlers and you were crying because there was just no way tomorrow could even happen if either one said “Why?” one more time?
And then your best friend/mom/husband/person at the taxi stand was trying to make you feel better so they told you that it was a phase and that someday you would miss the fact that they relied on you for all the answers?
Psst. It was a lie. They HAD to tell you that because your mascara was running, your eyes were frightening them and they didn’t know how they were going to end the conversation otherwise.
Children don’t stop asking questions, and they will think you know all the answers until the exact moment when they think you are basically a brain stem. No in between as far as I can tell.
The introvert in me wants to retreat into a tiny, dark burrow in my mind after work. But I figure I better get out of hibernation and engage with these people while we drive those seven minutes, even when they are the longest seven minutes of my human experience.
Because right now they think I might know something about zombies and icebergs and beagles, and right now they are curious to know what that is. Someday, I’ll be a brain stem. Until then, I’ll tell them what I still know.