The Lost Art of Wondering

Last night I dreamt that there was a knock at our front door sometime after the kids had gone to bed.  When I peeked through the peephole, I was surprised to see Paris Hilton and Nichole Richie standing on the stoop with Louis Vitton bags in hand.  Apparently, they had arrived to film another season of “The Simple Life” at our home. I awoke perplexed.  Why did my subconscious selected this for a theme? I’m not sure I even watched the show when it aired over 10 years ago and I certainly don’t remember thinking about Paris or Nichole during recent waking hours.  As I brushed my teeth this morning, I began to wonder what ol’ Paris has been up to in recent years.  I awkwardly balanced my phone while continuing to brush those pesky molars.  This is not an unusual activity for any of us, right?  Gone are the days of wondering and guessing.  Rapidly disappearing is the art of speculation and daydreaming.  Prior to having a smart phone at my finger tips, I often stewed on one ponder or another for days, weeks, and in several cases, years.  Sometime in late high school, I began wondering if giraffes are able to vomit.  Think about it…it would defy gravity!?  I asked multiple people this question and attempted to find the answer the old-fashioned way, in an encyclopedia.  This question haunted my synapses for a long time and wasn’t answered until I happened to ask a zookeeper at the St. Louis Zoo.  (Note: Giraffes are able to vomit.  Much like cows, they often regurgitate their food as a part of the digestive process.  You are welcome.)  Had this question popped into my head these days, I would have simply asked Siri or consulted Google.  Sure, I’d have been spared weeks of questioning and drawing others into my query, but at what cause?

Logan has been working on his semester project for his gifted and talented class.  He has compiled weeks of research into a presentation about Mt. St. Helens.  Last night, he asked me to help him practice the presentation portion of the project.  As I babbled on about an attention-getting opening, I was met with a blank stare.  I’d suggested Logan open with a “did you know…” statement shocking the audience (in this case, a 3rd grade class) about the existence of volcanoes in the continental United States.  Logan patiently waited out my suggestions before retorting that either kids would already know about volcanoes in the US or they wouldn’t care.  “Mom, if kids are curious about something, they just look it up.”  Wow.  What is the fun in that?  I’ll admit, I play into this with my kids.  We have googled insects, snakes, and plants from the backyard.  Logan or Jack have simply had to ask the beginnings of a “wonder” before Trey and I have jumped to locate an answer.

As an amateur fact collector, I do enjoy having knowledge at my ready.  I like having answers and being able to connect one known to another known.  Random trivia is my jam.  (Thanks, Dad!)  However, there are times that this accessibility is damaging.  We spaced Logan and Jack out 6 ½ years.  During those in between years, smart phones emerged.  We had internet with Logan was born, but looking up all of my new momma “what if’s” required me sitting at our computer desk.  With a postpartum body and a newborn, I simply didn’t make this effort much.  With Jack, however, I found myself simultaneously nursing and searching a million and one things that ‘might’ be wrong.  I took a screen shot one of those early days as I recognized that my anxiety was driving my thumb to swipe right and left on all kinds of terrifying information.  I looked up lip tie, thrush, jaundice, mastitis, post partum psychosis, neurological deficits, motor skills delays, SIDS, sibling resentment, prolapsed uterus, and more all within one nursing session.  Trey walked into the room at one point to find me sniffling that we’d waited too long between the boys and that they’d never be close.  He cocked his head and asked if we would be returning Jack to the factory?  Rather than allow myself to daydream possibilities, I simply searched for all that could go wrong and it was all at my fingertips.

I want my kids to have time to wonder and explore.  Obviously there are times we “unplug” and battle the resulting grumbles but the battle is worth it when I hear Jack talking to his toys or I see Logan outside building a fort.  Perhaps the greatest outcome of these moments is that through observing their wonder, I am drawn into the process as well.  I wonder what goals Logan will reach.  His ambition and drive are like none other and I know he will set his sights on great things someday.  I wonder who Jack will bring into our lives.  His charisma and loving spirit already draws people in and I can’t wait to be introduced to the tribe he builds as he grows.  I wonder what kind of woman Norah will be.  Will this strong-willed baby girl follow in the footsteps of her brothers or pave her own way?  I can continue to Google many questions and answers but the things that really matter are still, fortunately, left up to the imagination.  In my opinion, this is as it should be.

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