Thursday, December 15, 2011


Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.

 ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

'Where is the 'Grocery Store?"  Or, maybe the better question is "What is the 'Grocery Store.'"

As I sit here today, right now, my answer to that question is this-  The "grocery store" is not a destination, but a process whereby one drives seemingly aimlessly around their neighborhood in a car, with no perceivable destination, only to return home sometime later with nothing to show for it but a lighter gas tank.

Allow me to explain.

In a previous post, I mentioned how our Little Man often borrows phrases from movies, books or songs to help him find words he would not otherwise be able to muster.  For example, if he wants me to give him a piggy back ride, he will come over to me and say "Hold on tight, cause here we go..."  borrowed straight from The Little Einsteins.  

But, it is not always about the words themselves.  Sometimes, the words he borrows are meaningless, but instead he is trying to convey the emotion with which those words were stated.  Case in point:  For a period of time, when he was really upset about something, our Little Man, with tears in his eyes, would yell the phrase: "A Yellow Lamb." For the longest time we had no idea where the phrase came from or what it meant.  We simply knew that this mysterious yellow lamb only appeared in moments when he was greatly distraught. 

Months, or maybe even over a year later, we had on Sesame Street, and saw a Kermit the Frog and Don Music clip (linked below) where the clearly upset Mr. Music screams to the little green reporter "Lambs aren't yellow.  I mean who ever heard of a yellow lamb!?"  And viola!  The Case of the Yellow Lamb is now closed.  It was not the words that he borrowed, but the emotion they conveyed.  Intriguing. 

We are now onto a new mystery.  At certain times, when he is very tired, cranky, and upset, but not desiring to go to sleep, our Little Man will ask us to take him "Bye-byes in the car to the grocery store."  It has been a very long time since the request to go to this mysterious "grocery store" was first made in a tearful voice.  But we have never discovered that elusive place.  It was not our supermarket, or Target on Wal-Mart, or any of the other places we have taken him when the request has been voiced.  So, we have concluded that the request is not about the place, but about the emotion.  It only comes up when he is tired, cranky, upset and not quite ready to go to bed.

So, when the request is now voiced, we take him in the car, drive him around for a bit, and bring him back home.  Seems to do the trick.  When we come back, he is calm and ready to call it a night.  Tricky thing is trying to tell his younger brother that going "Bye-byes in the car to the grocery story" is NOT the same thing as actually going to the grocery store.

Oh, how I wish Unsolved Mysteries was never cancelled!

(yellow lamb emotion at 2:22)

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