I meant to write just one more Santa post for 2013 but the snowball rolling down the mountain that is Christmas crushed me yet again. I will table my Santa stuff for next year with no worries. Christmas comes every year and seems to be more and more complicated for me as time goes on so there is no lack of material to fuel a future post.
As an epilogue though, I will mention that we did have a lovely Christmas and my nit-picking overly cerebral philosophizing of the holiday did not ruin my children’s enjoyment of the magic of the season. I did keep rather quiet about the subject and it seems my son has organically grown his own great joy concerning Santa and Christmas this year anyway. My daughter was still in awe of the entire experience as she is 2 1/2. I gave them many hugs and was glad to see their joy.
But now, January is here, and I am rejoicing!
For the last several years I have made January Space Month in our family. Because there is nothing but longstanding holiday traditions, decorations and activities in the kid/family world from October to December (three months is a LONG time), this stay at home mom is thrilled with a return to the everyday world. She celebrates with some good old hard science. A breath of fresh air!
This year we watched Into the Universe with Steven Hawking. For the first time, my son was simply riveted with an adult science show. Surprisingly, my daughter was as well. We found the first three episodes on Netflix streaming, Aliens, Time Travel and The Story of Everything; each held their interest throughout the entire show. It was wonderful to geek out with them for the first time. I just got the Cosmos series on Netflix snailmail, and I’m planning a few Saturday field trips to the Pima Air and Space museum, the UA Flandrau Science Center. Space Month!
Space stuff is still as interesting as it ever was to me though I feel the popular excitement over the subject has waned. Have many of us lost our patience waiting for the next big scientific discovery about the universe? I wonder if there will be, in my lifetime, a new movement of wonder about the cosmos like I felt there was in the ’80s, seen evident in series like Cosmos and movies like 2001, 2010, or for children, Space Camp, or the The Voyagers. I think we will always enjoy the entertainment of neato science fiction futures as seen in Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, and Babylon 5. But I suppose I am speaking more about the speculation stories that seemed like they could happen tomorrow right in one’s own backyard.
I remember when I and the children my age were so interested in becoming astronauts, wondering how to get into the space program, thinking it would be awesome to work for NASA; when so many of us looked for biographies Sally Ride and Neil Armstrong in our Scholastic Book catalogues. In the ’80s, it really seemed like in the next year or so the human race would figure out something big when it came to space. Not sure what, but something! I think that not-sure-what-ness was part of the intrigue as well.
It is unfolding slowly though, while other things are moving forward at breakneck speeds. Our popular attention is drawn elsewhere I suppose.
So perhaps I find Space Month rather relaxing after Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a time to reflect on the largeness and wonders of our universe without having to put up any decorations. It is a time to think about bigger scientific concepts rather than just the fast moving tech and gadget wonders when I want to get my geek on this month. January is when we just listen to Steven Hawking and Carl Sagan as they paint the amazing picture of the universe.