In having a conversation today with my soon-to-be five-year-old, I was explaining family relationships, and that made me think back to my childhood.
Just like I have two boys and a girl, I am part of a similar equation. At some point in my early school years, it hit me: How come I can only say "I have two brothers" but my brothers could each say "I have one brother and one sister"? I thought something was wrong there -- I felt somewhat cheated; they had one of each! It's something that made me say, "Hmmmm...."
Another thing that I've always said "Hmmmm...." about has to do with the travel ad campaign for the Bahamas. IT'S BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS. Okay, I wondered. Better than what? Better than Mexico, better than ice cream, better than winning a lottery? Give me some clues here? But the Bahamas Tourist Office never did.
And when I was very young, I took things very literally. For example, I thought "horseback riding" meant riding backwards on a horse. Worse than that, I thought that an orchestra conductor raised his baton, and based on how he moved it around, is how the orchestra played. I never realized they had the music in front of them on stands. I also remember being young, staring up at the clouds in the sky and looking for Hashem's throne. I pictured him, perhaps like a mall Santa Claus, sitting way up high and looking down on the world. And to that end, when I was in the schoolyard, I'd look up and think: "How can Hashem be looking down on me here, while looking down on my parents at my house?"
I still often look at things, my head askew, with the natural curiosity of a young child -- but this child is forty-three these days! -- and say "Hmmmm....."