It was a routine Wednesday morning drive to preschool. I kept my eyes on the road, fielding happy chatter from the back seat while listening to our special “Wake Up” playlist, carefully crafted to appeal to Mom, Dad, and Niko.
As I slowed to pass the big high school on our route, Niko asked, “Did you go to this school when you were a little girl?”
“No, I didn’t live here then.”
“Where did you live?”
“I lived in Canada, with Meemaw and Grandpa.” He knows this, but I guess he likes to hear it repeatedly.
“But were you still my mommy?”
I had to think a moment. In a four-year-old’s mind, past, present, and future are not separated as clearly as in an adult mind. Finally I explained, “I wasn’t your mommy yet because you weren’t born yet.”
To my astonishment, the long pause that followed ended with an anguished wail. “What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“Why weren’t you my mommy yet? I really wanted a mommy! I needed you! I missed you when I was so little I wasn’t borned yet! Why did I have to wait so long to get a mommy?”
Um. Hmmmm. Okay.
Sometimes I wish I could just open up that boy’s mind and take a good look around in there.
[Photo by Garrett Beatty of Nuro Photography.]