An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: Newton’s first law of motion

I could have sworn I told them to help each other get unbuckled and to come inside.

Newton’s first law: An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest.

I was awful at math and physics growing up. Really bad. My brain just can’t compute the world in those terms. I was so bad at it that I gave up my dream of being a veterinarian because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the most basic of the math and physics courses. That meant chemistry too. I could handle biology but you needed them all. I didn’t dwell on it, I just turned my attention to my strengths and well, here we are.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about Sir Isaac Newton far more lately than I ever have before. I’ve never really been one to dream about the mathematicians and scientists of yesteryear but here I am doing just that. It’s because I’m pretty exhausted these days — not for any real reason but just in general. I am not unique in any way whatsoever so I’m not seeking your sympathy. In fact, I know you understand. If you’re human, you get tired. If you’re a mom you get even a little more tired than that.

It’s life.

Being mom-level tired lately got me to thinking about my kids, though.

Recently we’d run an early-morning errand and had arrived back home. My two children, aged six and five, were both buckled into their car seats in the back and had nothing but themselves to get into the house, or so I thought. I, on the other hand, had an armload of items to ferry from the car to the kitchen.

I turned to them and said very clearly: “Help each other get unbuckled, please, and then come inside,” before collecting my stuff and going in. Simple enough request, right?

I was able to get into the house, put my things away, make my son’s lunch for school and pack it into his school bag. Alone. No kids in sight.

I heard the neighbour, who works the night shift, return home and wondered if she was judging me for leaving my kids alone in the car. She likely didn’t even notice them thanks to science. An object at rest (kids) stays at rest. She probably didn’t see them sitting still in their seats.

Me on the other hand, well Newton said an object in motion stays in motion but I dared to defy him. I grabbed hold of my cup of coffee and sat down.

After a time, not long at all, my phone buzzed. It turns out the children had stowed the iPad in the back seat with them and had opened up the messaging app to text me. They aren’t quite at the age where they can quickly write sentences (though it won’t be long now) so I had several voice-messages in quick succession.

“Mom!”

“Mom, where are you?”

“Mom, can you get us out now?”

“Mom!”

I could have sworn I told them to help each other get unbuckled and to come inside.

But they’re kids. They were at rest and there was no external force (read: Mom) to get them moving once I left the vehicle, so they were stuck apparently.

“Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it,” said Newton.

Arg!

I went back out to the vehicle and there they were, still buckled in their seats, confused, waiting, and with decreasing patience.

I confiscated the iPad, released them from their binds and removed them ever-so-lovingly from the car.

Then I gave them a little bit of crap for breaking Newton’s first law. I was at rest and science says I should have been able to stay there.

Thanks Newton. Those two little external forces caused me to move!

They looked up at me, all innocent and cute and messy, with their perfectly smooth sun-protected skin and their big wide eyes; with their messy bed-head hair and the remnants of their breakfasts still in the corners of their mouths, because it’s not like they would take the initiative and wipe their own faces.

And then I remembered another Newton quote.

“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”

And perhaps this is why mothers are always so tired. They see that simplicity in their children and our love for that pureness prompts us to move.

And once in motion, well, we stay in motion.

Hang in their mommas. There’ll come a day when we stop. We will no doubt enjoy it for a time, but I suspect eventually we’ll wish we still had those little external forces urging us to move once again.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnistComedy and Humour

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping for outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

Cowichan Valley WildSafeBC coordinator Amanda Crowston teaches a Grade 5/6 class at Ecole Cobble Hill last fall. (Submitted)
The bears are back in town and so is WildSafeBC

The bears are back in town so keep an eye out, reminds… Continue reading

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

North Cowichan has heated exchange over timelines of its official community plan review. (File photo)
North Cowichan’s OCP review divides council

Tight timelines leads to heated debate

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Mom still hopeful for Island man who left care six months ago, hasn’t been seen since

Support from community, police keeps search alive for Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add 6 seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

Most Read