questions, 4 year olds & fastballs

[Nearing the conclusion of our annual Guest Writer Series, allow me to introduce LJ, aka Guest Writer #11 (of 12). LJ has been a sweet friend for so many years… being silly… being serious… but also, always being authentic … ]

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Did you know that the average 4-year old could ask at least 300 questions a day? The first time I heard this stat I could hardly believe it!   remember thinking to myself: “Hmmm… whoever did that study apparently did not have a 4-year old named Aden in their test group.” Because if they did, they, too, would be keenly aware that my three very over-achieving man children could put that number to shame… rather quickly and easily.

During their early years, with their gears constantly turning, you could always see when the firestorm of questions was going to hit. At first the questions were rather easy to answer, and I felt pretty good that maybe this parenting thing wasn’t a hard as everyone said it was. There were questions like: 

“Can I have a drink?”  

“Are we having peanut butter and jelly for lunch today?” 

“Can you read me this book?”    

Or… maybe it was just that whole concrete thinking phase that children go through.  Either way, the mastery of answering those questions of the early years did wonders for my ego and confidence.

As they got a little older, the number of questions did not become fewer; it was just the depth of the questions asked that changed. The questions have gotten trickier to answer.  

“Mom, what does it mean when the weather man says the clouds have rotation?”

“Mom, did you know that a snowflake is a frozen fractal?” 

“What happens when you die?”

“Why is Thomas Jefferson only considered the 3rd president when he was actually the 3rd and the 4th president?”  

I’ve come to realize rather quickly that this whole child-asks-a-question/mom-answers-that-question thing is a bit over my head, and I may need to call in the reserves.  Thank the Good Lord for dads and that amazing one-liner: “I think you better go ask your father.”

Now as I stand on the doorstep of the teenage years, you can well imagine just how grossly ill-prepared I feel to field the questions that are yet to come. It also makes perfect sense in my mind that it would be my almost 13 year old who should be preparing me for these life questions — right? He does his share of asking. However, from time-to-time, it is my 8-year old who will throw me the zinger.  

“Mom, what does it mean — that saying on your cup — ‘Life’s too short to take FASTBALLS down the middle?’ ”

I am silent as my old-soled man-child sits waiting for my response the whole time repeating his question over in his mind. I am not silent because I do not know what to say. I am silent because I am trying to decide the best way to communicate the heart of the message in the best possible way for his 8-year old heart and mind can grasp. 

After much thought, this is what this baseball loving, boy mom has come to…

We are given one shot in this life we are blessed with. There are no dress rehearsals, but sometimes, we are given second chances. In all the hugeness of this world around us, it would very easy to let the “hugeness” swallow us whole. We could so very easily stand there at the home plate of life watching the pitches whiz right on by. 

I don’t want to let that happen!! I want my life to be a statement of going down swinging, making the most of every second, of every minute, of every day.

Batter UP!!!