I had difficulty convincing a nine-year-old schoolboy that there was a string attached between the brain and the heart. His eyes widened. One hand touched his heart and the other his head. He then drew a line between the two organs and gasped.
Really? He asked. I hesitated. I was on the crossword of telling a lie and the truth. It was easy to make a lasting impression on youngsters. I patted his head and walked away. I was mentally retreating my position. Before I left the room, l looked back at him. He was still thinking about it. I smiled and continued walking.
I was actually thinking aloud when I was talking to him. Rather than debating against myself, I needed an audience who would listen to me without challenging me. Nine-year olds are good candidates when it comes to accept everything an adult says. The truth was that I was going through a rollercoaster of emotion that week. The brain was forging its own path while the heart was firmly anchored on a sentimental cushion, too comfortable to make any move.
It was all inspired by a visit to a school. I was watching children skipping around, making noises and push each other around. Teachers had hard time controlling them. My thoughts went back years ago when my own children were that age. How I miss those chaotic days when my house was turned into a war zone. Every weekend, they would sit in a corner and talk quietly, the way rebels would plan a revolution. Then all hell would break loose a few minutes later. No two days were the same those days.
There was only a lull when they were sick but my brain would then pull the string and the heart would work out all the emotions to drop everything to be at their side. Years later now, my wife and I would hear a feather dropping. The house of little revolutionists has been turned into a peace zone. I don’t think the peace that has descended upon us is what we have bargained for. These days we turn on the television quite loud. We do that for obvious reason because the quietness can be unbearable at times.
It was like yesterday when they were knee high. These days they look down at us as they tower above us. They are not anymore soldiers but generals of their own fate. Last week, just to remind my son of his old unruly days, I picked a pair of old mittens and placed them on top of his palms. He thought I was going senile and there was a puzzled look on his face. I told him that they were his when he was a baby. Only two of his fingers could fit in them. He could not believe that he was once that tiny. It was my way of telling him the long road his mother and I journeyed with him to reach where he is now.
He just smiled but his expression was saying, “but that is the role of being a parent.” Yes it was like it was with my parents. I guess the last word has to be that once the children have grown up is to assess the string between the brain and the heart. Mothers share the umbilical cord with their children. Fathers share the string with them. I cannot make any more sense than that. I was going to tell him what I had told the school boy but I thought against it. Hopefully he knows about the existence of the string now that he has reached the age of independence.