Working in summer as a single mom is hard to do. I try to distract my son with all the electronic goodies a child could hope for, plus analog toys and books, and a few brief chores, while racing to write as much as I can before lunch. After that it’s time for the pool and the gym and errands, then dinner and bath and bed.
But try as we both might, my son sucks me into conversations by asking questions with long answers.
So, do you know about small pox?
Have you ever heard of a tardigrade?
What’s a sin?
Interrupting my work flow to summarize complex ideas into simple words often feels counterproductive. In the short term, it’s certainly time consuming. But when I think about it, it’s very much the same skill set as writing: simplifying the complex, while retaining accuracy and nuance. Here are the answers I gave.
Small pox was a very terrible disease that spread easily. It was especially bad for children, because if they caught it they would often die. But then everyone took the vaccine, and it was so effective and so many people took it, that now the disease is eradicated or gone. Humans won the fight against small pox.
Tardigrades are microscopic creatures that can live in very extreme environments that humans cannot, like deep freeze and outer space. They’re also very cute. (He responded with more tardigrade facts.)
A sin is what people in some religions call an unfairness or a wrong. People don’t agree on which things are sins. Some think it’s a sin to be gay but others don’t. Almost everyone agrees that murder is a sin. (His reply? “Donald Trump is a sin!”)