Not to begin a conversation (with myself, no less) with a question but…
Do you ask the question when you already know the answer?
This is a hypothetical situation and doesn’t involve my own children but let’s say that a child stole a cookie. You know the cookie is gone and even though you have several children to blame, it’s always the same child. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you have irrefutable evidence as to which child stole the cookie. You, the mother (or parent) are not wrong and you know you are not wrong.
Do you ask the child “Did you take the cookie?” when you already know the answer? What do you say when the child denies it with chocolate chips in his teeth? Is it a sick pleasure to try and get him to confess? What gets accomplished?
When I worked for the preschool, I learned that small children tell you what they think you want to hear whether it’s the truth or not. They will also do just about anything to not get into trouble and to make you (the teacher) happy. The combination leads to some interesting stories. When teaching kids to resolve conflicts you don’t teach them to blame each other. You teach them to talk about how something felt from the other person’s perspective and what can be done to fix the problem. It’s all very non-aggressive and tree hugging and let’s all get along. But for most kids, it works. I mean the kid has to have an inkling of empathy but it’s usually an okay thing. It’s not the easy way but it makes for better kids I think.
My point is that it doesn’t do any good to ask the kid (because the kid perceives it as threatening) “Did you take the cookie?” when he knows that you know the answer. Why should he answer the question? He’s in trouble either way, right?
I mean, what do I know? My kids scrap at each other all day but you can’t reason with Amelia…she’s 2. Even Ella has come to terms with that. I’m not the end all, be all in parenting and that should be obvious. My kids are lucky that they aren’t sold to the gypsies by now. I never have to ask the question “Did you pull your sister’s hair?” because I already know the answer.
So then why do we question? And this is a metaphor for something that I’ve been kicking around in my head for some time. By forcing myself to keep asking the questions…are my answers changing?
Here are the answers, in no particular order:
-Yes, I think I would like to be married again.
-Yes, my daughters need a father.
-No, I don’t want to go without a companion.
-Yes, Stephen would want me to be happy.
-Exercise does make me sleep better.
-No, I don’t believe in angels and yes, I realize I’m in the minority with that belief.
Oh so that’s the other think I’ve been kicking around in my head. Most Americans believe in angels. You’d think that I would be one of them but I’m not. In theory, I have two angels, yes? I’m told that all the time. But I don’t buy it.
Also, it could be just generalized grumpiness (and lack of a nap due to a very busy day) but I think that what happened to Stephen and Will were both very random. One was not contingent on the other like genetics.
We knew before we had kids that there was a 50% chance that our kids would have the same genetic condition (NF, Type 1) that he had. Will didn’t have it. The girls do. Figures. But genetics don’t know if you already have kids with that condition. All of them could have had it or none of them. Just like it could have been me that got cancer. Or one of the girls that got sick in infancy. Or we would be a family of five. Instead of three.
And do you know why I believe it had to be random? Do you know why I don’t believe in angels? Do you know why I don’t ask the questions when I already (deep down) know the answers?
Because this? Could not have been planned. Could not have been the original answer. And I cannot live with a memory for a companion.
I have to have something else to believe in…another chance. But I’m not even going to ask. I’m pretty sure that I know the response and I don’t think I’m going to like it.