Riley’s been asking me a lot of really tough questions lately.
Riley: What’s in the ground?
Me: Dirt. Worms. Pipes. Subways.
Riley: No, what’s in the ground?
Me: Tree roots. The mantle? Scrat from “Ice Age” chasing an acorn to the inner core?
Riley: No, what’s really in the GROUND?!
Riley: What’s in the house?
Me: Furniture. Walls. Windows.
Riley: No, what’s in the house?
Me: Concrete. Drywall. Plumbing. Termites?
Riley: No, what’s really in the HOUSE?!
Riley: What’s in the car?
Me: The engine. The radio. The steering wheel.
Riley: No, what’s in the car?
Me: Gas. Wires. Us? Cheez-Its?
Riley: No, what’s really in the CAR?!
I don’t know what Riley’s really asking me, but he’s clearly trying to make sense of the world and figure out his place in it. (So am I, by the way.) At least he’s not asking me questions like, “What happens when you die?”
In the car yesterday morning, Riley asked, “Mommy, does the sun know me?” A quick glance in the rearview mirror unveiled a little wrinkled nose and a pair of eyes squeezed shut from the sun’s bright light. “Yes,” I said smiling, “The sun knows you.” Then he asked, “Does the sun know everyone?” As we drove directly east toward the rising light, I realized I was squinting, too. “Yes,” I said, “the sun knows everyone.” That one was easy. Really.