Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Origin of the species

Last Friday in the car, E asked me where did the whole everything come from? And after a few false starts, I tentatively asked, "do you mean the world?" And she said Yes, tell me about God. I'm not sure what fragment of something she heard from whom, but she loves to talk about God.

"In the beginning," I told her, "there was just God. And one day, God decided to make the world. And the first thing he did was figure out what was light, and what was darkness, so he put the light all over here, and he put the darkness all over here, and that's why we have day and night. And that was the first thing he did." I told her a simplified version of the Genesis story, I told her about the first people, Adam and Eve, and then I told her that God looked at all the work he had done, and thought it was good, and he rested. I told her that was the first Shabbat and that's why we were going home for Shabbat, to remember the work that God did to make the world, and to remember that God values work, and God also values rest. And we started singing Shabbat songs, and I felt parentally fulfilled by the synchronicity of our Shabbat traditions waiting for us as soon as we arrived home to capstone the car ride of story telling.

Every day since, E has asked, Tell me the God story!

She's had follow-up questions. Adam and Eve is only TWO people. Where is the rest of the people? So I told her that when Adam and Eve were ready to be a mommy and daddy they had babies, and those babies grew up into grown-ups who wanted to be parents who had babies who grew up into grown-ups who had babies who grew up into grown-ups who had babies, all the way until the next name she would know, Noah.

Think how much fun she'll have if I introduce her to the word 'beget.'

So all the people come from God? she asked on Monday. She's asked, even octopuses? when I tell her about the day God created all the animals. She's questioned, even salad? when I tell her about the day God made all the plants. And if I skip a line in the now-established narrative that is to her liking, I am chastised. But Mama, say about how he pushed the clouds up to the top and the squishy mud down to the bottom!

This morning she told me that yesterday she told all her friends her God story, and I wondered if I'd get a letter sent home: Reminder, parents--class rules include 'keep your hands to yourself' and 'say please and thank you' and 'HEY! NO PROSELYTIZING!' And although no such letter materialized (yet), E did ask me to tell her the story yet again during tonight's car ride home.

As I got the girls out of the car this evening after tonight's retelling and we crossed the threshold from the garage into the house, E paused, knocked the door frame lightly, and looked up at me, with something obviously on her mind.

Mama, she said, people come from God. But houses...she paused to be sure of herself. Houses come from construction workers. Pin It