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E Pluribus Unum

January 11, 2017 - Jen Zbozny
I came across this gem this morning. I wrote it to a friend what seems like eons ago - when Eve was three. Reading it again I remember how amazing and how exhausting that time in our lives was. It also reminds me how deeply grateful I am to have been able to make it work to be home with Eve. Trust me, parents, being a full-time, at-home parent, isn't a bed of roses. You get stir crazy. Your world-view shrinks. Your sense of self gets all sorts of distorted. It's not for everybody and certainly not for the faint of heart, regardless. I feel especially grateful today. Yesterday the weather brought Eve home early from school. I'm lucky to work from home so I could go get her and not have the stress some families do about how the kids will be cared for on such days. We spent a gloriously peaceful day together. Yes, I worked. Yes there were crafts. Yes, there's a mess. And yes it was a gift. The cold, the crafts, the mess, the work, everything.

Today another gift. A two-hour delay gave us more deliciously stolen time together. Cookies got baked. Dolls got played with. The sewing machine was pressed into service. And I found this email I wrote. I hope I'm wise enough to remember to savor this moment today. I hope we all are. Read on:

This is what kind of day I have sometimes too. E pluribus unum. In Latin that means from many, one. In our house we have the opposite going on - in terms of questions. In our house it's best to be careful about how you answer a question because one answer to one question is pretty much like the Hydra. If you cut off one of its heads, seven more grow back. Then the seven heads of questions chase you around the kitchen as you are trying to make dinner and THEY are riding on a little pink scooter you were insane enough to let Santa Claus bring. This is a battle you cannot win. Especially because they think it's super fun to drive into you on the scooter. I do admire and enjoy the great beauty of a child's quest for knowledge. I also at times admire the lunatic idea that I could cook dinner in peace. Right. Dinner time is like flame for a moth when it comes to endless question asking. The other day, as I was cooking, Eve began to wonder about how heat and fire work. I love her powers of observation. Clearly she noticed I was using the burners on the stove. Thus she decided yesterday was the day to ask why the pots and pans don't burn. That is where I tried to kill the Hydra. I hoped the answer "because they have a really high threshold for heat" would do it. What was I thinking? Why didn't I say, "look, I happen to have this cookie and a coloring book right here in this lovely drawer."

But noooo...

Instead, all night long we had to look things up about boiling points and freezing points and smoke points and melting points. Not one of the answers on Google said "maybe you should think about your Mother's melting point." Many of them said Celsius. Some said Fahrenheit. Guess how I helped that Hydra grow a bzillion more heads? By the time I was finished (which is not true, we're never finished) I sort of wanted to stick my head in the freezer for a while. That's what I'm going to remember when the questions start next time. Instead of answering, I'm going to repeat the phrase "from one, many" and stick my head in the freezer.

That ought to do it. And bonus for me! Instead of eating whatever I was going to cook for dinner, I can just eat ice cream instead. Straight outta the box with my face, like you're supposed to!

- Much love to all the mamas (and dads) out there confronting the questions of the universe framed by the future rules of it. Have good days - Jen


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