Casual reflections and the elegant trifling of a kid
“I am not your uncle, call me Mr. Simon.” I told him.
Weeks later, I visited his house. Both parents were around and I was feted fittingly. The lad was over the moon to have me come to his parents’ house. He is the only child and I can understand. He needs the company of a kid, he probably thought me one because he could talk to me thoughtfully.
“Can I ask you a question, Uncle?”
“Mr. Simon.” I replied.
“Promise me that you would answer this question,” he pleaded.
Without knowing what was coming, I answered in the affirmative.
“Where do children come from?” he asked me and shot fleeting look at his parents.
“What did your father tell you?” I demanded to know.
I expected the parents to shut him up but they never bothered to do so.
“Daddy dodges the question every time I asked him, I feel there is something he is hiding from me but I need to know.”
Know what, I wondered to myself.
At his age, I couldn’t have been allowed by my parents to be in the company of adults, what chance in the world would I have had to even ask grown-ups questions. We were shepherded to inner rooms away from earshot when adults visited.
“Daddy says that children are sometimes thrown down from heaven and at other times from aero planes.”
I looked at the lying father from the corner of my eyes.
But I understood why he had to lie. How can one tell children how babies are made? It is as hard for a father asking his daughter if she has started seeing her monthly curse.
“I run out every day when I hear the sound of airplanes and never see children throw down down,” he probed.
“What did your mother tell you,” I questioned further.
“Mother muddies the waters further than daddy; she says babies come from where she passes out urine, mother who couldn’t explain to me why she has hairs on head and where she passes out urine although most people have hairs only on their heads.” He said sadly.
He was obviously confused and needed my help to solve the puzzle.
Regrettably, I couldn’t help him. How could I allow myself to explain that the mother was correct with details?
How could I allow self to explain that daddy told him a white lie, that children aren’t thrown down from airplanes or from heaven and that daddy’s engine is partly responsible for children come to existence?
How could I explain away the entire ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions that this brilliant child would make me suffer in trying to justify how children are made from daddy and mum’s bodies?
“Babies come from God,” I told him and prevented the curious questions that I was sure would follow.
He knew that I knew how this is so and was upset that I couldn’t help him.
I needed him to enjoy his innocence, to grow up with his inquisitive mind, learning and wanting to know and not to debase it with challenges of adult life.
I know this holiday would be short-lived as society steals the innocence of children as they grow up.
No need providing answers to the glooms of adult life, more so to a child who is pristinely pure.
Someday he will find out, until then, allow children to be who they are: children and not adults.
Simon Abah wrote from Abuja.
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