Planning for the future

The conversation began with dust in the air. "Why does this dust float in the air all the time?" My daughter is becoming increasingly curious about the world around her. Sometimes I know the answers to her questions and sometimes, like the dust, I just pull something out of thin air.

"Because dust is really light and floats around easy," I said. I seriously did not want to talk about dust. It makes me sneeze when there is too much of it so I don't care for it.

"But why, mommy? Why do we have it at all? Where does it come from?"

Great. We were driving so I couldn't use "Google" to grab a correct scientific response. "It comes from molecules and stuff. Little itty bitty pieces of things that don't weigh hardly anything at all; they just blow around in the wind."

She thought about it for a few seconds. "Well I don't like it. I don't want there to be any dust ever. I want it to go away." Amen, sister! Now we're speaking the same language. "But I like trees. We have to save the trees from being cut down because they help us breathe.and they have birdhouses and bird nests. We need to save the birds and the trees. Do you care about the trees, mommy?"

I remember back when I was younger and I didn't have anything better to do than worry about deforestation. Times were much simpler in my life back then. I didn't have a mountain of crushing debt or children or health issues.

"Honey, I worry about other things like you and your brother." And serial killers and bears and cancer and the apocalypse, but there was no sense in throwing all that mess at her innocent mind.

"I also think about your future and I wonder if you'll meet a nice man who will be a good husband to you," I thought this would sound less insane than my other anxieties.

"A good man takes his hat off," she informed me in a very matter-of-fact tone.

"Really? Your daddy wears hats. Does he take his hat off?" I asked. "No," she replied. I laughed. "Well," I was the curious one now, "do you think daddy is a good husband to me and a good daddy to you?"

"Yes!" Whew! No problems there. This hat test must be subjective.

I also learned several other tidbits of information about my daughter. For starters, her two children she will have, a boy first then a girl, will be perfect angels (this probably says a lot about her perception of herself, but nothing about reality); the boy will be named Oscar and the girl Emma.

She will live in a big, beautiful house in Jacksonville so she can be near her favorite cousin. Her profession will be a soccer coach and her brother will be "a basketball man." Anytime her house needs cleaning, family can come over and help clean it.

The husband, whoever the lucky man should be, will be slightly taller than her, but not so tall that he resembles Abraham Lincoln because, she is sorry, but that isn't okay at all. To her, Honest Abe is too tall and too skinny for her taste. I bet he took that hat off for the ladies.

One car ride that took about 15 minutes and I learned so much. It is simpler when I get to ask the questions. Next time she wants to spring something on me, we're talking about how many ponies she will buy her daughter, Emma.

Damara Hutchins can be contacted at