Owen, when he was supposed to be sleeping tonight, came to the door of my bedroom, put his hands together in a prayer position and bowed.
Which is a little weird, right? I was going to chalk it up to whatever TV show he's been watching recently, but then I thought about it and he's been almost exclusively watching Ninjago, which, as I understand it, is some kind of Lego world and Lego guys don't even have hands in the traditional sense, so now I don't know where he got that.
"When does school start?"
"In just a few weeks weeks, buddy."
"Is that a short time, or a long time?"
"I guess that is kind of relative. It will probably feel pretty short."
"Short like the days are five minutes?"
"I don't know. Probably not that short."
"But a day could never be five minutes, right? Unless the sun died."
"I don't know what is going to happen when the sun dies."
"But the sun will die?"
See what he did there? I've been bamboozled into admitting the sun is going to die and my guess is there will be a follow up conversation.
"Yes, scientists say the sun will die someday."
"And what will happen then?"
It is at this point that I have a decision to make. In a flash, I see myself telling him about Life Exterminating Events or Existence Limiting Events or whatever they call it in disaster movies. And he would go upstairs and talk about it with Sam. Let's be honest - we're talking about Owen here. He was devastated watching March of the Penguins (which, to be fair, is hella devastating). Still, if he was that torn up about the death of the baby penguin, I don't think he's just going to take the end of the world, and, thus, the death of all baby penguins, particularly well.
I remember hearing the sun was going to blow up some day when I was a kid. Scared the shit out of me. Kids have precisely three time-based reference points - no more, no less. Yesterday (lasterday), Today, and Tomorrow. They were born yesterday. You were born yesterday. Dinosaurs were born yesterday. Today is all the stuff that is happening right now. Tomorrow is all the stuff that is going to happen. Telling a kid that the world is going to explode in 5 billion years is exactly the same as telling them the world will explode tomorrow.
So, for this moment, I decided to bend my philosophy of not out-right lying to the children. Instead of saying, "The world will end and we will all die, but don't worry, that's not until tomorrow," I said, "We would have to stock up on light bulbs."
"Okay," he says. "But I hope it isn't soon because we are on a spending freeze."