“Hey mom guess what?” the doll asked before she broke into a story about something that happened on the play ground that day. I used to long to hear about how her day went, yet today I find myself endlessly bored and struggling to pay attention. I’m lucky that I’ve managed to fake my interest by grunting in medium tones at times, which makes me appear to be following along (a trick I learned long ago when I tuned out my own parents and noisy siblings while watching television growing up). Conversely my kids employ the same tactics with varying degrees of success on one another and their parents (until I yell or shout them out of their stupor). Ah yes…we all lead such a boring life for sure.
“Did you remember to ask Alexis if she were willing to accompany us to go birding in May?” I asked the boy when Mary Alice and I picked him up from school. “Yes”. He replied. “What was her reply?” I asked. “She was bewildered.” He replied. “Bewildered? You mean she didn’t understand what birding is bewildered or something more?” I asked. “She was bewildered.” He replied with a tone which implied I should totally understand why he chose the word bewildered. “Could you at least elaborate a little?” I asked again.
Mary Alice meanwhile, sat in the front seat of the car, giggling at our verbal tennis match.
“She said she thought it could be fun but would have to ask her parents…” He said. “Well of course she would…but how did that make her bewildered?” I asked again, kind of giggling to myself at his unwillingness to explain what he meant. Taking in a breath and then giving me a heavy sigh in return he explained, “I had to explain to her what birding MEANT…she was BEWILDERED because she had never heard bird watching called birding (before). He said, his voice pitching higher with every syllable. “Oh, so you explained what we’ll be doing, right?” “Yes” he replied. “Good-I hope her parents are okay with the idea…” I returned and our conversation concluded.
Then for the first time ever-without the promise of money being offered-the boy sat in the backseat and was quiet the rest of the way home. Bewildered perhaps by his mother’s happiness at all the possibilities which lay ahead.