The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 11, 2013

Ask your mother, the woman with a lifetime of answers

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Ask your mother.

Ask her anything. Why is the sky blue? What is 2 plus 2? What’s for dinner? How high is up? Is this bug good to eat?

Ask your mother.

That’s what Dad always says, anyway. Why is the dog licking himself? Why is grandma’s hair gray? Why is my goldfish floating upside down? Why is water wet?

Ask your mother.

Where do birds go in winter? How much does the sky weigh? Why is fire hot? Why is that man fat? Why do I have to take a bath? What happens when you die? Why do I have to eat stupid vegetables?

Ask your mother.

Mothers always have answers. They must, since they are asked a lifetime of questions nearly every day.

Researchers in Britain found that mothers in the United Kingdom are asked nearly 300 questions per day, an average of 23 per hour. Over the course of a year, that adds up to roughly 105,120 childish queries.

Ask your mother.

That’s what 24 percent of children in the British survey said they always do, in part because when they ask their dads, they get one answer:

Ask your mother.

Why am I right-handed? How do fish breathe under water? Where do thoughts come from? Where is heaven? Why do people get sick? Why is my hair brown?

And one day comes the big question, the one every parent dreads, the one that stops time and causes the earth to shift on its axis. Where do babies come from?

Ask your mother.

Then they grow a bit older. They go off to school, and suddenly, they have people asking them questions. So they take those questions to the only person who knows.

Why do I have to do homework? Why do I have to do algebra? Why do I care what the square root of 47 is?

Why do I have to remember when the Magna Carta was signed? Can I go to the mall with my friends? Why are the kids mean to me?

Ask your mother.

As they age, the questions get tougher, and more painful.

Why can’t I do what all the other kids do? Why can’t I go to the party? Why don’t you want me to have any fun? Why should I listen to you? Why do you hate me so much?

 Ask your mother.

Why won’t he ask me out? Why do I have pimples? Why am I so ugly? Will anybody ever love me? Why do the cool kids make fun of me? Why can’t life be fair?

Moms always have answers. They aren’t always easy, they often are not the ones we want to hear, we may reject them, but like it or not, she will have answers.

One day, your beloved offspring will come home walking on air, grinning inexplicably, hopelessly smitten by a handsome he or comely she, and filled with questions.

Why does my stomach do flip-flops when he looks at me? Doesn’t she have the prettiest eyes? What if he tries to kiss me? What if he doesn’t? What if she wants to hold hands? Should I buy her corsage?

Ask your mother.

Then they’ll be out of the house and off to college. But the questions continue.

Do I really need to separate my whites and colors? Can I borrow some money? Can my roommate come home with me for the weekend? Can I move into an apartment? How do I know he is the one? How did you know you were in love?

Ask your mother.

Then they’ll be out of school, madly in love and married in the blink of an eye. And finally they’ll be out of questions. Yeah, right.

How much of a down payment do we need for a house? Is this a good deal? When should we begin saving for retirement? Should we go iPhone or Android? Paper or plastic? How do you know when you’re pregnant?

Ask your mother.

Then one blessed day, a grandchild. And the questions come faster, and, more often than not, in the dead of night.

Why is the baby crying? Why won’t she eat? Will he ever sleep through the night? What is colic? How do you cure diaper rash? Cloth diapers or disposable? How did you and Dad do it?

The child will grow, begin to talk, and start asking questions. They will begin asking you the same things you were asked many years before. But this time, you have an easier answer.

Ask your mother.

The years will slip away, and the inexorable passage of time will exact its price.

And one day, your child will be at your bedside, solemn, red-eyed, and they’ll reach for your hand. And the questions will come again.

How could anyone have ever had a better mother than you? Has there ever been a luckier child to have been raised by someone like you? How am I ever going to go on without you?

And for once, mom won’t have an answer. But you know, they’ll do just fine because of all the answers you’ve provided over the years.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at