|This cowboy's always thinking.|
Tucked into bed, my son taps his fingers against his forehead and states, "I'm a little worried about getting married and having kids. Because kids are a really big responsibility. You have to feed them, a lot, all the time. And they cry. And you have to change diapers, yuck."
I should say that he's only six years old. He has recently discovered that serious questions get attention from adults, and can even get moms to pause on the way out the door after saying goodnight. "Do you think your dad has fun being your dad?" I asked him.
His eyebrows lowered as he gave that due consideration. "Yep."
"I think you'll have a lot of fun with your kids, too."
"But do you think they'll be like me?"
Oh, honey, I sure hope so. "Yes, in some ways, and in other ways they'll be different."
"But what if she says she's a Christian, and she isn't?" At first I thought he meant his daughter, but that wouldn't make any sense. Like most boys his age he wasn't planning on having any girls.
"Your wife, you mean?" He nods. Oh my goodness, what a question! "That's why you take time to get to know her before you marry her." Once in a while I am tempted to say something out of a desperate hope that it will take hold in his mind, and somehow remain an unquestioned tenet in my child's life. This was one of those times. "For two years."
"You mean date? For two years?" he said. Shock made his voice go up.
Then, because his father and I only waited a year and a half and he's bound to figure that out, I relented. "Well, a year and a half to two years. By then you get to see her when she has trouble, and when she's happy, and you'll know what she's like in all kinds of situations."
"Well..." He's tapping his chin now, and I brace myself. The last question was a doozy, and I'm running short on brilliant answers. "When I grow up, will I have a beard or just a mustache?"
Whew. "You'll probably have both."
"Do I have to have a beard?"
"No, you don't have to have one, but you'll probably try out a few different things as you get older."
"Good, because I don't like beards. They make you look older. Like Johnny Appleseed. Did you know his real name was John Chapman?"
No, I didn't, but I interrupted to tell him it really was time to go to sleep. As I finally leave his room, I can only hope I passed...these parenting pop-quizzes are humbling.