One of the wonderful things about having an intellectually curious child is that her voracity for knowledge piques my own. Having read dozens of kids’ books about space with her, I’ve found myself increasingly fascinated. Finally, I decided it was time to pick up something on my own grade level. Using a Barnes and Noble gift card I got for Christmas I purchased two promising candidates: “The Big Bang” by Simon Singh, and “Why Does the World Exist?” by Jim Holt. I know, it sounds like I’m in another existential crisis, but really I’m not. Not any more than usual, anyway. I just want to know more. My kid asks a lot of deep questions. I need to have answers! Or at least more educated guesses.
So I’ve started with the “Big Bang.” And, of course, it’s blowing my mind. As I read, I describe to MJ what I’m learning. I figure if I can successfully explain it to a 4-year-old I must be comprehending it myself. So far we’re pretty early in the story, but I’m getting it all, and so is she. Or–OK–most of it. Still, what a joy to discuss such deep matters with your child. What a thrill to contemplate them yourself. What solace, when considering one’s own petty complaints–an irate customer, a bloated health insurance bill, Downton Abbey’s strange new season–to contemplate the enormity of things, the grace and mystery of them, the infinitesimally tiny nature of our contributions.
Best of all? When I tell MJ that I love her “as big as the universe,” she has a general sense of just how much that is.