The Evolution of J.J.
This frees up his hands to explore the world.
He's like an evolved ape. Once they got their knuckles off the ground, one of the apes wiggled his thumbs and said, "I don't believe it. They're opposable."
And his wife said, "I know. How do you think I've been doing everything around here?"
Before you knew it, the apes were drawing on cave walls, traveling in canoes, taming the wilderness, painting the mona lisa, shaking cocktails, shooting the moon, and finally, sticking notes on textbooks saying evolution was just a theory.
Being able to grab things made them want to grab the next thing. Stone, copper, steel, computer chips.
Likewise there are no bounds to J.J.'s ambition right now. As soon as he wakes up, he reaches his outstretched hand for his shelf and says, "uh." Which means, "Mom, could I please have my Walt Disney snow globe?"
And I get it down for him and wind it and set it for the floor. It plays "When You Wish Upon a Star."
I sing along...Makes no difference who you are...anything your heart desires will come to you...If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme...
He pats it and says, "Uh," which means, this time, "Will you get me those tiny snowflakes inside there?"
Um. That request is actually too extreme.
He gives up and reaches for the ceiling fan, which means, well, you know.
So the other evening, our family was stuck at a gas station in Columbia, Mo. (long story) and the boys were playing in the crabgrass field next to it. An acre away, an electrical tower rose about five stories in the sky, all lit up like a Christmas tree. Only metal.
It must have looked quite beautiful to J.J.
And he reached for it.
"You want me to get that tower for you?" I asked.
"Uh," he said.
I pretended to reach for it, you know, to show him that mommy couldn't grab it either. So that he wouldn't be frustrated. But instead, I saw his point. When you reach for something, it looks like your hand is resting on it. You should be able to grab it. It's right there.
So I pretended to grab it and hand it to him.
"Uh," he said. Which means, "Even I can pretend to grab the tower and then give you a handful of air.
He reached further. "Uh."
I turned him away from it to spare him the frustration. Twilight was falling and he saw the moon and started reaching for it. "Uh," he said, meaning, "Well, then, Could I have the moon?"
Giving up, J.J. reached for a star. "Uh---" meaning "Could I at least have a star from a far off galaxy?"
"Of course you can." I wanted to tell him. "But you'll have to reach it yourself. God didn't make you an upright walking mammal for nothing."
I'll never touch a star. But maybe, by the time J.J. grows up, other galaxies will be within reach. Maybe that's unrealistic. Even so, when J.J. holds a baby someday, and watches him reach for the sky, he'll be that much closer to the stars. Knowledge will have progressed, and a new discovery will be within reach for the next generation.
Like the Louis Armstrong says, "I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, they'll learn much more, than I'll ever know, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world."
Now, J.J. wants me to reach things for him. Soon, it will be the other way around.