A reply to: A letter from Ayden
I’ve been thinking about your letter. I learned a new word: conundrum. Do you know that word? That’s what your letter is.
How come you’re now a dad, and last time you wrote you were a little kid, younger than me?
I’m not that much older, only about ready to graduate from third grade, and before I was in the middle of third grade.
Do you think you’ll still be alive when I’m in fourth grade?
One of my pen pals was alive for a while, and he wrote me a lot then. He was moving really fast, and before I had a chance to write him back, he sort of got old and died. Or something. At any rate, I can still write him, but he can’t write me.
Life is weird like that.
I was asking Jasper–did I tell you about Jasper? He’s my mentor. I was asking him about time. Because it isn’t fast for me, but it’s fast for you, and it was super fast for my other pen pal, the one that maybe died.
But I’ve got another pen pal, and I don’t think she even LIVES inside of time, because she lives forever. She’s a goddess. No, really.
And then, Jasper and I just got another pen pal together, and he says that “humankind” (that’s us) hasn’t figured out time yet.
Me and Jasper spend a lot of time trying to figure out time!
We’re reading this big book called, “From Eternity to Here: something-something Ultimate Theory of Time.”
For example, the book asks, “How is the future different from the past?”
My answer is, In the future I will be the same me and my heart will be beating in the same way, only I will be made of all different cells and I will be bigger.
Jasper said, “Yup. That about sums it up.”
What I really want to know is, What’s it like for you to be grown up now?
Do you still remember what it’s like to be a kid?
And if you still remember what it’s like to be a kid, does that make it easier to not get mad at your own kids when they act like kids?
Jasper says that he remembers what it feels like to be a kid. But he never had kids. So I wonder, if you have kids, do you forget what it feels like to be a kid?
My mom says she doesn’t remember anything from before she had my brother. So that’s why when I call her up when I’m at Jasper’s and I say, “Mom. We’re in the middle of discovering something, and I can’t come home until we discover it,” she will say, “Supper is in half an hour, Gee-gee. Be home then whether it’s discovered or not.”
No kid would ever say that. A kid would say, “Here! Have some chips! Let’s go chase the moon!” And off we go. That’s what Jasper is like, too, except he says that being friends is a privilege and if we want to keep that privilege we gotta play by mom-rules, too.
So. It’s home at supper time unless we plan ahead and make other arrangements.
Do your kids make other arrangements sometimes?
I guess I gotta go. I want to mail this letter to you before any more of your time passes.
Do you think you’ll be an old man when you write your next letter?
I’m kinda tired of losing penpals when their time is up, so I hope you don’t get old too fast.
Tell your kids that I used to know you when you were as little as them! They will think that’s funny and weird, because that’s what it is.
Your friend (who’s still a kid somewhere in the past and the future),