I’m just finishing up my breakfast when my son says: “So mom, the first people on the earth, how did they spread?”
“What do mean ‘how did they spread?’” I ask, feeling a bit defensive as I shovel the last bite of french toast, the last bite of bacon, into my mouth. Is he setting me up for a fat joke, I wonder?
“Well, how did they spread around? Did God send down more or were some of them girls and they had babies?”
Ah! It’s not a fat joke after all. In my mind I picture people floating down from the heavens in a tunnel like band of light. The opposite direction of how you might imagine people being sucked up by an alien space ship hovering in the clouds.
The voices in my head start up. They gasp, and wonder why he is thinking about this. The voices rise as they start to panic in my brain, Why? Why are you asking me this? You are SIX, just go watch some cartoons already. Be a couch potato for half an hour. Quit playing ‘inquiring minds want to know.’ Let your mother get back to thinking about piercing her nose…
“I think some were girls and they had babies,” I tell him.
To which he replies, “Oh. So when the babies grew up if they were girls they had more babies.” And I agree that sounds about right.
Then he says, “Well, the first people, they were all family right? So then if they were family, then everyone in the world today is really family to each other.” In my mind I sigh, and out loud I agree that at some level, he is probably right. I wait for him to go on, to take it to the next level and tell me that if everyone in the world is family and people get married, then that means they are marrying family, so it should be okay for him to marry his cousin Emma after all. But luck is on my side, and he doesn’t go there.
I don’t feel like playing religious education teacher this morning. I don’t have the strength of will to explain the Catholic’s concept of God as the one and only father because I know it will lead to more questions. And probably defiance. I can picture it clearly, Snags arguing with his father: “Mom said you aren’t my REAL dad, so you can’t tell me what to do. I don’t have to pick up my LEGOs unless God tells me to!”
And then, “How did you have a baby with God anyway, Mom?” I know if I try to explain he will ask me that next. So yes, I think, best to let this one sit there for now. Maybe the Scooby Doo cartoon on TV will capture his interest.
At dinner time, just as I get a mouthful of turkey Snags asks, “So who invented Disney World, anyway? And how did they invent Disney World?”
“A man named Walt Disney had a dream,” I offered.
“A dream about what?” Snags asks.
“A dream to build the happiest place on earth,” my husband helpfully chimes in.
“But how did Mickey Mouse come to life?” Snags wonders.
This one, I’m confident, I can handle. I sit up a little straighter.
“Well,” I say, “a cartoonist was drawing cartoons on a piece of paper, and there was this strange little bottle sitting on his desk. He had never seen the bottle before and he didn’t know what it was, but he didn’t give it much thought. While he was drawing, he accidentally knocked the bottle over and the cork popped out and the liquid inside spilled all over his drawing. It turned out that the liquid was growth serum and when it hit the drawing of Mickey Mouse, the paper started to bubble and Mickey Mouse grew right out of the drawing! He popped right out and was actually standing ON the desk. Then he waved at the man who drew him, and he said “Hiya!” and the man fainted from shock right there.
I imitate what I think a man fainting from shock right where he is sitting might look like. Snags giggles. I’m proud of my explanation, it sounds good.
“What color was the growth serum? Was it blue? Was it green? Was it red? Can we get some? Where did it come from? Let’s get some! Can we make some? Where do they sell growth serum? Tell me again what happened…”
And the questions continue until Snags decides that maybe we can get some growth serum and use it to bring the dead back to life! I shudder at the thought, wondering who he would use this on, if he could. With visions from W.W. Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw in my mind, I gently explain how that might not be such a good idea. With Easter around the corner I consider telling him that only God can bring the dead back to life, but decide to leave it alone, for now. I stick with a watered down explanation of zombies and the decaying dead, and how if he used the growth serum he’d be bring back nothing but skeleton bones. It sounds plausible enough. But later, my husband asks me why I didn’t just tell him that Mickey came to life from Disney Magic. Damn! Why didn’t I think of that? I wonder. But it’s okay. I can use the Disney Magic explanation the next time Snags asks about how people came to earth and started spreading around.
The only problem, as I see it, is how to explain things once Snags realizes that Mickey Mouse isn’t real. That Mickey Mouse at Disney World is really just a person inside a costume. I guess I’ll have to teach him about cannibalism then.