“The world of the tiny is infinitely more complicated than the world of the big.”
I look up from my lap, continuing to wipe the greasy taco scraps that escaped my napkin and inevitably landed on my freshly laundered skirt. With a quizzical raise of my brow, I ask, ” Who said that?” Knowing full well this will be another conversation that I will know little to nothing about and will remain baffled when the lesson is over, I give her my full attention, her and the now orange residue forming a stain in the worst possible location. MaryAlice partially swallows another bite, preparing her lecture and I try to not grimace. Her eyes twinkle and there is a slight smirk itching to be unrestrained as she nonchalantly states, “Everyone who studies Quantum Physics, Mom.”
Don’t misunderstand it’s a profound thought coming from an 11 year old. However, what you missed is that I’ve been answering or entertaining, thank you Google, questions and statements about black holes, alternate universes and even mathematics for many of her years. She hated math with a passion, uhhhh I didn’t try to share my loathing on the subject but a parent must pass down something…right?!? Until one day when she blasted through the door, home from her preschool class she attended earlier that morning, barely contain her enthusiasm as she explaind to me that math is a language and that every person can understand it. Needless to say, she loves languages therefor she had fallen madly in-love with my Achilles heel. Yes, yes, I see that math exists in art yet I try to forget my glasses on those occasions.
Blank look on my face, I quickly try to remember what Physics is, let alone the whole “Quantum” part of it. But allas, I am lost in the world of facts and figures so nothing comes to mind. Not skipping a line in this play she chimes in, “The smallest science in the world………..”. MaryAlice loves to learn and as she learns, she feels compelled to teach me. I told her when she was about 5 that she could get a degree in anything but please do not get a teaching degree. When she asked me why I explained that any degree you receive can been enhanced with a teaching degree, there is little in additional time or effort to do so. However, a teaching degree will not afford you the same luxury when you want to develop your skills in other areas. The reality of my truth sadly ended in a dollar sign.
Accepting my role once again, forever the student, I compliantly ask,”Why does that matter?” Like any other student my attention span is short but seeing as how I’m the mom, I give my best try. My gaze jumps back and forth from our conversation to the one I’m having with the reddish orange neon color left from the spices I relish in Mexican food. It must have gotten the wrong impression when I dipped a paper napkin in the iced water glass sweating on the table. Dabbing lightly at the spot I offered it the oppertunity to spread not the intended farewell departure I had hope for.
“Human curiosity: our greatest fault, You always want to know what’s on the other side of the door.” Her answer causes me to chuckle. Not because I found humor in observations of philosophy but because of the couple sitting behind her. The young woman had her back turned toward us but the sharp cocking of her head and his wide eyed expression of shock often gets this reaction from me. MaryAlice, I’ll say would in no way find this humorous so I avert my eyes back to the stain continuing to spread across my crotch saying nothing in reply. I offer her a “That’s nice dear” kind of smile.
She starts to pick at the lettuce slivers on the last remaining taco, of which she will later attempt to hide with her napkin. “It’s a question mom…..” she blurts out with a lift at the end. I’m trapped! Is this the question or was she wanting me to ask about the door. Her laugh is loud. She knows I’m always listening but not always hearing the actual words she uses so she cuts me a break and tells me it’s a metaphorical one and I ease back into my stain fighting with ease.
Standing up to leave and get one more refill on our drinks, MaryAlice, creating a concoction of syrups mixed with ice, and I, a proudly watching her experiment with life and owning my red crotch as well, hold hands. It is so small in mine but not as tiny as I had been yesterday. These are the moments I know I must remember. My mind clears instantly as my heart feels the bittersweet weight and my throat thickens in it so no more words can be spoken. I repeat to myself, remember this, remember this, remember this….. I will never loose my children because they are not mine to own. It is I that was found when we first met and my debts were paid with their tears. I offer them my servitude in guidance while they are on their paths for it is only a brief time that we will walk together. As is was when her fingers intertwine with mine the first time, I knew the love I get to share with her will burn within us both and far beyond our own paths. There is a story created within our souls from these gossamer silken threads as we weave our worlds together. The grandchildren of my grandchildren will know this moment not due to the reading nor hearing of it but because my little girl will take from it only what her soul needs to grow and through that growth she too will walk a path with child and find that the world of the tiny maybe in fact infinitely complicated but it is more like the stain in its rapid growth. The more loving attention you give something the bigger it becomes.