I’ve been mining old blog stories (from a previous blog) to fill in gaps for memory keeping. In the process, I’ve realized that in parenting—and teaching—I spend a fair amount of time as a passenger. Sure, I help with navigation and hazards on the road, but Duncan is the driver.

The following post from 2008 (when Duncan was four) demonstrates this so well.

E

xperience. It’s the only thing I have on my son. Seriously, I’m pretty much convinced that Duncan is way smarter than me. Yes, I’m bigger, have some mommy power, but it is my experience that is the key right now. And, there are more and more moments where I find myself looking at him, jaw agape, wondering how I’m going to keep ahead of him as he gets older.

For example, the other day he had a ball of Play-dough that he formed into a little oblong ball. To myself, I thought, “How cute. It’s such an imperfect little ball.” Then, he took out his cutting tools and dissected this imperfect little ball into four quadrants. I say quadrants, because he explained that he was cutting open a brain. And, that’s when it hit me. His imperfect little ball was a perfect little brain. He’d formed the dough so well!

Then, there was our visit to the bookstore in July. We went to find some books on robots. However, when we arrived at the store, he changed his mind and wanted the following model of a human skull instead. “Really?” I asked, surprised by his request. After he confirmed he was quite serious, I purchased it for him. After all, it seemed like an equal trade and a perfect educational opportunity.

Duncan couldn’t wait to put it together. When we arrived home, he put it together by himself within a short amount of time. Then, he shared his delight that there was a brain that fit inside of the skull. He kept putting it in, taking it out, separating the two hemispheres, and asking me to read every label again and again. He was so studious about his project. Though, I think we both underestimated the creepiness of the glow-in-the-dark eyes.

Skip forward a bit. I came upon him as he thumbed through his medical book one morning before breakfast. He was looking at photos and drawings of the brain, but needed some help. “Mom? Is that the Hippocampus?” He asked, pointing to a specific area of the brain.

“Uh. I’m not sure. It isn’t labeled in this photo.” I answered, a little weakly.

“I think it is.” He said, looking at me for confirmation. “What does it say?”

“Let’s find a page with that portion labeled.” I said, flipping through the pages and feeling a little unnerved. Then, I found it. Sure enough, not only did he remember the name, but he had the location right, too.

However, as unnerving as these moments can be, they are delightful, too. They spark a curiosity in me about our future. I can imagine a day when we’ll share ideas, debate philosophy, and have some amazing conversations. And again, I am struck by what an amazing blessing parenthood is for me.