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The Deep End of the Ocean

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It is late afternoon and I have all the kids piled in the mini-van.  We’re on our way to the plethora of extra-curricular activities that have overtaken my calendar.  I could really use a cup of coffee right about now.  “How many oceans are there?” asks my eight year old.  Uh-oh.  Did I mention I could really use a cup of coffee?  “Mom,” she repeats a little bit louder, “how many oceans are there?” Oh!  She was talking to me.  I guess her brother and sister aren’t going to back me up here.  I am not the right person to answer this question.  Geography is not my strength, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s all one big ocean.  “Mom!” she calls again.  “Okay,” I say.  “Well, there’s the Atlantic and the Pacific and the Indian.  We’ll have to look the rest up later.” She seems satisfied with that.  But then she says, “I wouldn’t want to live at the deep end of the ocean.”  Okay, I’ll bite.  “What do you mean, honey?”  She goes on to explain that if the ocean is shallow from where she is standing, then the people who live on the other side of the world must be dealing with some pretty deep water.  I am smiling now.  This is the logic of a child, and it is a wonderful thing.  To her mind, the ocean has a shallow beginning and a deep ending, and the poor souls who live at that deep ending have to swim with the sharks.  Now I am laughing.  I consider trying to explain the finer points of the intertidal zone and what happens when the ocean meets land, but I can’t bring myself to do it.  Not just yet.  I love the way her mind works, and I want to savor this moment.  Later, when we sit down to look up the remaining oceans, we’ll revisit the topic.  But for right now, I just have to agree.  “I wouldn’t want to live at the deep end of the ocean either!”

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