|Some of my best parenting moments|
happen in this car.
"Did we see it recently?"
"In the past three months?"
I'll fast forward to the end. It was 'Calpurnia,' from my favorite To Kill a Mockingbird. They finally got it after about 55 questions and a few clarifications on the game we were playing—the new game they'd made up that morning, which was keeping them contentedly occupied—"Infinite Questions."
You know, like 20 questions but more.
They have no idea they've been playing this game since they were born. Every year, the game gets a little more complicated, the questions a bit more... more. I'm trying to keep up with them.
Some days are better than others.
With them hurling toward adulthood, I like this version better some days. It goes faster when they play against one another.
"I have one!"
"Is it a person?"
"Is it a girl?"
"Is it from a book?"
"Is it Katniss?!"
I've got a captive audience in the car, and I try to make them think harder, throwing in characters that make them wonder, make them remember. Nobody's off limits: Calpurnia leads to a discussion on family dynamics in the post-depression-era south. Jimmy Neutron leads to a discussion about the cartoons we've watched together or the ones they've watched and now remember wistfully.
The questions and answers are giving me a new topographical map of their world—what they hold dear, what they remember, what they've forgotten.
They let me peek inside for a few behind the curtains that are ever more often drawn shut. I think of the endless days of questions when they were younger and every answer received the bonus question—"why?"
Back then, I looked forward to the day when the questions would end. But today? Not so much.