Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back of envelopes

I love it when information is written on the back of envelopes. Not because it reminds me of getting phone numbers on the back of napkins. Because it reminds me of learning the difference between boys and girls.

My dad came home at bedtime when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I remember him walking into my bedroom to give me a goodnight kiss. He was in a grey suit, still with his tie on and a white shirt. As he leaned over to kiss me, I asked him what was the difference between boys and girls.

Did he bring up anatomy? Sugar and spice vs. snakes and snails? Peeing standing up? No.

He pulled out an envelope from the inside pocket of his suit coat and a pen. He wrote XX and XY at the top then four arrows pointing down. He explained the mother and father, zygotes and embryos. I felt so grown-up. Like he believed I would understand what he was talking about. I never forgot that and was well equipped for that part of sex ed and biology years later.

Last night the boys couldn't understand why this election was important if it wasn't about voting for president. I grabbed an envelope and explained the (theoretical) checks and balance of power in our government. While my simple triangle wasn't as complex as dad's genetic explanation of gender, it made me smile that my lesson was on the back of an envelope.