This morning (well, two weeks ago, actually, but “this morning” sounded better), I was herding my kids toward the car for the morning migration to school when Chi asked, “Mom, where does water come from?”  It was raining and everything was wet. Chi was warning the little ones about puddles, Pynni was complaining about puddles, and Pieces began composing sonnets to puddles. I insisted that they desist and get in the frigging car already.

Meet Oxygen and his friends, Hydrogen and Hydrogen

Once ensconced behind the wheel, I was accosted with this not so simple question. Indeed, where does water come from? My not-especially-inquisitive-but-knows-surprisingly-a-lot-anyway, son would not be satisfied with, “The sky.” Luckily, I’ve had to explain molecules to him in the past when he insisted on knowing the “real” reason why helium-filled, latex balloons, which are on the ceiling when he goes to bed, are on the floor when he wakes up but aren’t flat. (helium molecules are smaller than the spaces between latex molecules, in case you were curious) So, I began my explanation of “where water comes from” by asking him if he remembered what molecules were (of course he does). So I tell him about oxygen and hydrogen and hydrogen. This explanation ends up in an explanation of the law of conservation of mass/energy with examples (I’m gonna have to go back to college just to parent this kid at the level he requires, sheesh Thank God, for the internet).

When his curiosity was satisfied, he wanted the music turned on.

When we get into the carpool line, Pynni leans in to give me a kiss after the ritual kiss/hug/noozle/sniff/sniff/sniff from Chi and shocks my cheek with her lips. This makes her ask why we shock each other sometimes which leads to a discussion of atoms and their parts. At the end of this discussion, Chi says, “Like at night before I go to sleep, if I rub Earl and Bear together real fast it makes a blue light.” Right. And he says he hates science. whatever.

Everyone was happy and every one got off to their days just fine. But it got me thinking.

My kids and me

My kids are my electrons. With them, I’m a negative ion.  We create positivity and have fun (when Mommy’s patience cup is full and her sensory cup is close to empty). When my electrons peel away and go about their independent days, adding their charge to someone else’s life, I feel lost. I’m not even an empty nester here. I’m just a stay at home atom whose electrons are testing out other atoms. Trying out other molecules. They always come back to me ‘zing!’ and they always bring my charge back below neutral. What is going to fill that spot when they are sharing their ion possibilities with someone else permanently?

(I have a small little suspicion that just might be a hope that Chi will be sticking around for a while. I’m probably a little too okay with that)

Maybe writing will be my thing. I hope so. It has made this internment on the sofa more bearable. It has made my days without my electrons less positively charged (cause negative ions are good, yeh know?). Nothing will replace my children and the joy that I find in having them nearby as much as possible, but maybe having something for myself isn’t all bad.

Then Pieces got home from pre-school and proceeded to run circles around me. It may be law now. The Law of Mother-dynamics.