UFOs, black holes, and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop

What do we know about UFOs, black holes, and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?


My son wears the same underwear for days. He can’t shut off a light. Has to be reminded to brush his teeth. And he whines more than I ever imagined a nine year old would. But tonight, as we sat together and he rested his head on my shoulder and we watched freaky YouTube videos about unidentified flying and submersible objects, I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

He was intrigued. Had plenty of questions, but I didn’t have the answers. Half of the stuff we were seeing was bogus. Phony. The other half I was convinced may be partly real. After all, I’ve seen strange, bizarre, unexplainable things in the sky.

“But what is it? How can it move like that? Where did it come from? Where did it go? How is that possible?” He asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

He snuggled closer.

I could see his gears turning. Amazement brewing, and as I looked over at my wife and our eyes met, I could sense what she was thinking.

Why in the hell are you watching that with him before bed?

But what better time to watch such crazy shit than on another boring, below-freezing night after stuffing our faces with pulled pork sandwiches, strawberries, and avocado?

I was sure there couldn’t possibly be anything better as I queued up another video—this time one about a zippy silver disc outrunning two fighter jets then splashing, almost playfully, in and out of the ocean with ease—when my five year old daughter, still soaking wet from the tub, streaked through the living room singing a song about Tootsie Pops and riding a pink dune buggy into the center of the universe with her ferret, Mr. Beasley, and her boyfriend, Trevor, only to get swallowed by a big black hole that was actually full of love and made them fart rainbows until they were safe and back home again.


I love to listen as our kids make stories with letters and colors, song and dance. They make me question things and think things I’ve never thought of thinking. They make me revel in the beauty of life, the potential we have, and the innocence that’s ever-present, always trying to get us back to the place we belong.


Another cold day eases into another cold night. I walk them to their rooms to say prayers, have thumb wars, and tuck them in for dreams. And as I give one more hug and one more kiss, and one more I-love-you-sweet-dreams-I’ll-see-you-in-the-morning, I walk away buzzing with energy and wonder.

~ K.J.

One response to “UFOs, black holes, and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop”

  1. This story encourages and enlightens and enriches the soul with love. As you read it’s not objects or money it’s the warmth of little arms, smiles and what lies with in us. All we need to do is open our eyes and hearts. Love this story I could see the images in my mind.


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