The amount of knowledge I’m supposed to have as a a parent is truly astounding. You never know what random questions you’ll be expected to know the answer to from an ever curious 5 year old and her hyper verbal 2 1/2 year old brother. But oh, there will be questions!
A sampling of things I was expected to know yesterday, for example:
“Why does this song not having singing in it?”
“How come a week is how much time it is?”
“Do we live in Bethleham?”
“Why do they call a parade a parade?”
“How come the moon always follows us around?”
“Why are some words longer than other words?”
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.” —William Blake, Songs of Innocence
A.A. Gill, “Fatherhood” - from Is Further Away
A Word on Statistics
Out of every hundred people,
those who always know better:
Unsure of every step:
almost all the rest.
Ready to help,
if it doesn’t take long:
because they cannot be otherwise:
four — well, maybe five.
Able to admire without envy:
Led to error
by youth (which passes):
sixty, plus or minus.
Those not to be messed with:
Living in constant fear
of someone or something:
Capable of happiness:
twenty-some-odd at most.
turning savage in crowds:
more than half, for sure.
when forced by circumstances:
it’s better not to know,
not even approximately.
Wise in hindsight:
not many more
than wise in foresight.
Getting nothing out of life except things:
(though I would like to be wrong).
Balled up in pain
and without a flashlight in the dark:
eighty-three, sooner or later.
Those who are just:
quite a few, thirty-five.
But if it takes effort to understand:
Worthy of empathy:
one hundred out of one hundred—
a figure that has never varied yet.
- Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from Polish by Joanna Trzeciak)