Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Audrey loves to ask questions.

Some days the sheer volume of questions is staggering. One day I thought I would write them all down so that later, when Audrey got older, we could look back on them and have a laugh. Then I realized that the baby would never get changed, errands would never get run, laundry would never get folded, and no one would eat all day if I took on that task. So I gave it up after about five minutes.

Her favorite question by far is "Why?"

Before I had children, I believed that I would patiently answer all my children's questions. I would not be a mom who said "because I said so." I would encourage this mentally stimulating exercise because after all, 'no question is a silly question'.

Whoever said that obviously never raised a preschooler full-time.

The majority of questions asked by small children have no clear answers. Example. Today we are driving to the store for groceries. I say, to make converation, "I think it's supposed to rain later on." First, I hear from the back seat "WHAT???" at full blast. So I repeat my comment, a little more loudly this time. Audrey says "But why is it going to rain?" At this point, I used to dive into a little explanation of water being trapped in clouds until it overflows, and rain comes down. After being met with a blank expression multiple times in regards to this type of answer, today I simply cut to the chase: "It's going to rain, because it just is." A minute goes by. Then Audrey asks, "why does Kmart start with a K?" It just does, Audrey. "Why is that car blue?" Because it's painted that way. "But why did they paint it blue and not red, red is my favorite color." Because maybe blue is that man's favorite color. On and on my day goes.

I wonder if she will ever outgrow the 'why' phase. Of course, I do want her to continue to be inquisitive and curious and thoughtful, and some day I know she will ask really good 'why' questions, as she sometimes does now. This is what keeps me from getting too impatient with all the 'whys.' I don't really want to squelch her growing interest and curiosity about the world around her. But truly some days . . .

However, if we're honest with ourselves, we never truly grow out of our desire to know 'why', do we?

A few years ago, shortly after moving about 1000 miles across the country, I miscarried our second baby. I was absolutely devastated. And angry. And boy, did I want to know why. Of all babies in the world to die, why mine? Why, God, does a crack addict in Philly with no husband, money, family, etc. carry a child to term, while I - a healthy woman with a stable and relatively dysfunction-free home - lose mine? Why did you let this happen to me when I feel so vulnerable and alone? I realize that I was like my daughter - asking a question to which there was no clear answer.

Why did it happen? Well, as I say to Audrey, it just did. I honestly don't think I will ever have a full understanding here on earth of why I lost this baby. Even the doctors couldn't say why. Some things are a mystery. I realize now, that once I let go of wanting to know why and accepted that this was part of God's plan, I could start moving on and live my life, not just look backwards and wonder what went wrong.

What I DO know is this: That God created and loved that little life, even more than I did. Yet for some reason, He was more glorified by bringing that little one to His side right away. And once I trusted in the Lord's goodness, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

I look forward to meeting with Jesus some day in Heaven. I have a lot of questions for Him! And like my daughter, a lot of them will start with 'why.' :) Meanwhile, I will have to learn to be content and know that for now, here on earth, the answer from God will often be "because I said so." Being okay with that answer is really the heart of learning to trust Him.


ErinOrtlund said...

It's funny how much I can relate to what you write! We haven't had too many of the "why" questions yet. So I kind of half-laugh, half-cringe at your blog, because perhaps I have naively been thinking Kate would get even easier over the next year! But yeah, it's amazing how often I try to get Kate to hush up, even when it would probably be stimulating for her if I engaged more.

Mama Amy said...

I don't know anymore if Audrey asks why because she really wants to know - half the time it just seems like a gut response to everything I say or else a distraction to try to get what she wants. So I am no longer worried about mentally engaging her. I try to answer the serious questions but often my response is "I don't know". I don't know why that man's car is blue. I don't know why A is the first letter of the alphabet, it just is. :) Lately I throw it back at her - why do YOU think blah, blah, blah? Try to get HER to do the thinking. Thanks for your feedback!

Mom said...

Ah, I remember a 3yr old Amy and those maddening "Why" questions she used to ask. Young mothers, accept it. It's part of the package of 3-4 yr olds. As maddening as it can be, be thankful they can speak, even when it seems they never shut up!