Crime fighting is not in my job description.
Recently however, my son’s obsession with Encyclopedia Brown has forced me into serious Columbo territory.
Nancy Drew ain’t got nothin’ on me.
If you’re unfamiliar, Encyclopedia Brown is a 1960s series of books centering on a boy detective who unravels mysteries. Each case invites the reader to solve the case.
Over the last week, my son has read eight of these books. Correction. We have read eight of these books.
Everyday, on the way to school, Micah reads them to me. And then he asks me if I can guess the true criminal.
So there’s no fudging on this one. Can’t just “pretend” I’m listening. Or at the end of the story, I’ll be the one who’s found out.
And sometimes, quite frankly, it’s not easy to be engaged. My mind is always in “to do” list mode, ticking off the next items that require my attention. Morning tensions sometimes nearly drive me to be the perpetrator of a crime.
Last week, after a particularly difficult morning, I was exasperated and definitely in no mood to be Encyclopedia’s trusty sidekick.
Micah: Okay, Mom, I’m going to read you more Encyclopedia Brown.
Me: Micah, for just ten minutes, can I please not be required to solve a stinkin’ mystery?!
Later, I remembered that, before I know it, Micah will be the mystery. Just like his sister before him, he will begin to slowly pull away. In a few short years, I’ll have to play detective to discern his thoughts, uncover his interests and decipher clues to his activities.
And I’ll long for the days of a little boy who wants me to be his partner in ridding the world of crime.
Yep, what I really am is a time fighter. Fighting the tick of the clock that will bring his inevitable march toward adolescent independence.
It’s a battle I’ll lose. I can’t stop this natural and necessary progression of childhood.
In the meantime, I'll gladly don my trenchcoat and solve the next whodunit.