If you have a child, you'll know what I'm talking about. You know when they start in on that really, really involved story about the enormous blue two-headed dragon befriending the sea horse and saving it from the ferocious, sea-horse eating whale by scooping out of the sea with a fish net held in it's mouth and flying off to The Land of Rainbows and letting it go in a cozy little pool of water where they live as best friends happily ever after? And you nod and look really intrigued and say a lot of "Uh huh... oh really? Wow, imagine that. Gosh, that's such a creative story."
It's kind of the same way if you ever have a chance to sit down and chat with a conspiracy theorist for awhile. They go on and on about Bad Guy X and his horrible plan to bring the entire world to a fiery demise. And you nod, and look really intrigued, and say a lot of "Uh huh.... Oh gosh, I never thought of it that way... Oh, really? Well, that sure is a unique way of seeing things... " All the while, of course, you're thinking, "This guy is craaaazy." But you don't say it. You might even ask some great questions, getting him to talk more, share more details of this awful conspiracy he's certain will come to fruition the minute our backs are turned. And then as soon as you leave, you call your best friend and it's, "OMGosh, I just sat and talked to so-and-so and would you believe, he actually thinks... blah blah blah." And you giggle, and gossip, and your friend confirms that Crazy Guy must indeed be a few bricks shy of a load.
I've been there. I've nodded and smiled at both the seven year old and the Conspiracy Theorist. In fact, I'm really a pretty good nodder/smiler.
So in the past few days I've reconnected with extended family members that I haven't seen for several years - pre-motherhood years, mostly. And they read my profile, and look at my pictures, and ask a bit about what I've been doing these past years. "I'm a homeschooling mother," I tell them.
They do a great job of asking really good questions: "What subjects are you studying? Do you do a lot of arts and crafts? How is it keeping a toddler entertained while teaching the older one's lessons?" And so I happily write paragraphs back to them via Facebook messages, telling them all about what we do and how we do it and how much fun it is and, hey, my kid can identify a painting by Cassatt on the wall at the craft store and she's reading at a third grade level!
And then they reply with things like, "Oh? Really? Wow, that's really great. Sounds like you're very creative. I'd never have thought to do that."
It actually took me awhile before I realized that those relatives are probably emailing each other back and forth saying things like, "OMGoodness, I just talked with Julie online would you believe, she's homeschooling!" And they giggle, and gossip, and confirm to one another that I must indeed be a few bricks shy of a load.
I'm the one who's getting nodded at, smiled at. Heh! They think I'm crazy.