There are moments when your children embarrass you. There are moments when your children inspire dark thoughts within you….thoughts of adoption, or at the very least of boarding school. There are moments when you wish your children weren’t in fact your children at all, instead you wish they were someone else’s children, or something else entirely, something inanimate and quiet, like a vase or a banana tree. And then there are other moments. Moments that stop you in your tracks. Moments when you seriously wonder whether the small people that inhabit your house are actually children at all, and not in fact sages of great wisdom and insight.
Today I experienced two of the latter type of moments. Two moments that left me contemplating on a deep, philosophical level, who my son was. Was he in fact my son, or rather, was he….is he, the reincarnated soul of an existentialist thinker? A post-modernist commentator, challenging the world to think outside the box and to truly engage with the meaning of words and indeed life?
Moment No1. My boy, as he around and about the Lickey Hills (local woodland) shouted ‘SHOUT‘. Just think about that for a moment. Shouting ‘SHOUT’. Repeatedly. Shouting it into the faces of innocent passers-by and their unsuspecting canines. Shouting ‘SHOUT’ to the trees. Shouting ‘SHOUT’ to the publicised but unattending grey squirrels. Shouting ‘SHOUT’ to anyone that would listen. (Which was everyone as they didn’t have a choice. The boy was shouting). When asked what he was doing he replied, with a look of incredulity on his face, ‘I’m shouting‘. When asked why he was shouting ‘shout’, he replied ‘because it’s loud’.
Touché my boy, touché.
Moment No2. nearly caused my brain to stop working, and my mind to turn inside out in a moment of beautiful Reality. A process of musings that The Buddha himself would have applauded and ‘whoop-whooped’ at I’m sure. As we circumnavigated the hills, with the sun streaming through the gaps in the trees, this humbling exchange took place.
Me: Are you having a nice time?
Boy: Yes. Having a lovely time.
Me. Good. Do you know where you are?
My son the existentialist thinker.
If a boy shouts ‘shout’ in a forest but there is no-one there to hear it, can his Dad still tell him to shut up because it’s annoying?
Anyhoo – As we sat in the cafe drinking our respective drinks and eating smuggled in birthday cake from the birthday we had celebrated the day before, I looked at him and he looked at me. I pondered his great intellect and wisdom and wistfully contemplated his future greatness. Just what would he achieve? What would this future great thinker of his time contribute to Science, Philosopy, the Arts?
I pondered this that is, until number-one child partook of a particularly ferocious cough/sneeze which caused part-digested chocolate cake to shoot down and out of his nose, splatting on the table in front of us. All of which caused my little thinker to utter the immortal words, first spoken by Arsistotle, I think it was:
‘Oh no – my nose did a poo’.