Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Men are from Mercury?

My social worker recently loaned me a book which begins with many cheery statistics like this one:
In New York alone, since 1986, there have been at least seven occurrences of adoptees murdering their adoptive parents.
This, I think, she gave me to cheer me up.  Okay, so things aren't quite that bad around this neck of the woods.  But since I was writing yesterday about my mercurial new son, it seemed appropriate to take the family over to a viewing of the transit of Venus across the sun.

We began several weeks ago by hyping the event.  I was worried my boys would be bored (in their words, declare that the whole things was "butt-dips").  But a round of enthusiasm from me, from K-daughter, and from their dad -- plus assurances that a similar event won't happen for another 105 years -- seemed to overcome the potential yawn factor.

In fact, the boys were enthralled.  More so than I would have expected. Way more so.

We got special solar eclipse glasses (bling! yes!).
Are these the blues brothers?  No, it's
N-son, C-son, J-son, and K-daughter,
with solar viewing glasses.
We also got (although I didn't picture it here) potato chips and frisbees.  More bling.  Yes.

Beyond the bling, there was science.  There were a variety of telescopes to look through, and my boys returned over and over to them.
J-son is checking out solar flares.

C-son was the Venus-master.  He had lots of questions about astronomy.
Of the three boys, he stayed the longest, and
he returned to me the most times to describe new things he'd seen.

N-son got to see sun spots, solar flares, AND Venus all at once.

Here's an image of the sun projected on paper.
That little zit-like dot is Venus.
There were no special sound-effects, no flashing lights, no dramatic crashes.  But we all had a great time.  I'm feeling a wonderful combination of relief, gratitude, and triumph.

Speaking of gratitude, it was about a gazillion years ago that my own parents dragged me and my sisters out to see a total eclipse of the sun.  I am sure I was grouchy and ungrateful at the start (and possibly all the way through?).  I am sure that we whined about being bored.  But to this day, I remember the cool solar glasses, the camaraderie of our fellow eclipse watchers, and even a little bit of that particular eclipse.  For which I am, lo these many decades later, belatedly grateful.


  1. I'm glad they got to see the eclipse and that they enjoyed it. I'm especially excited to see that C-son had lots of questions about astronomy :D

    1. Hah! I thought you'd like this post. You'd have liked being at the transit-watching, too! -MM