Pandora’s Juicebox: The Making of a Geek

GeekMom Technology Travel

When I was a little girl, a box of Tang changed my life. I didn’t want to try it at first – because like many things marketed to children in the 1980’s, it looked and smelled like toxic waste – but the clerk told me that astronauts drank it. And then he explained what astronauts were.

A while ago, I wrote about the incredible fortune ‘Pandora’s juicebox’ bestowed upon me during that fateful breakfast:

Only three years old, yet she already had that ache.  “I’ll be an astronaut,” she told the moon. Of course it was listening.

The rockets roaring in her mind mostly drowned out her dad’s jibe and the clerk’s derisive laugh.

Last week, I took my son to the grand re-opening of the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston. A few of the adults in line with us gave me odd looks – I assume they expected my preschooler to act up during the show and spoil their experience of ‘Cosmic Collisions’. They obviously didn’t know who they were looking at.

When the lights went down and the dome appeared to open above us onto the naked sky, Bastian gasped in my ear, “It feels like we’re flying!” I swear I could smell Tang on his breath…

I can’t help it; I’m ten times as old as I was when I first dreamed of going into space, and I still choke up whenever a camera zooms out to show the Earth in a field of stars. At the planetarium last week, I let the tears flow.

Now, it’s unlikely that NASA will ever want me for a mission, but Tang made me a geek, time made me a geek mom, and technology lets me fly to the moon with my son whenever we’ve got a spare afternoon. And who knows what the future holds for my little stargazer?

Five, four, three, two, one…

“And then what?” she asked.

Only three years old, yet he already had that ache. “BLAST-OFF!!”

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9 thoughts on “Pandora’s Juicebox: The Making of a Geek

  1. My 7 year old and I are going out tomorrow night to the local university’s planetarium for a lecture on the edge of the universe. This is a lecture directed at adults, but I have no doubt he’ll follow along just fine. I’ve been encouraging him to watch documentaries about cosmology, etc, since he was very little. We d/l’ed an app on space weather to track images of the sun recently, too. I’ve always joked that his love of Legos and his love of “space” will one day result in a aeronautical engineering career. He’s planning to build ships to fly us to the stars 🙂

  2. What a lovely story! I think we need to take children to more events like these.

    PS- I went back and read your blog post. It made me cry. I’m so happy that you were able to go beyond what anyone else imagined for you.

    1. Thank you! And I think you’re right. Kids need to participate in actions and events that matter. What better way to bring them up as functional, caring members of society?

  3. YAY! I’m forwarding this post on to my amazing brother in law, who was on the team that designed that planetarium! We will get our sneak peek in a month or so. I’m SO happy it was a great experience!


  4. I took my son to a local planetarium when he was three and a half. My biggest concern was that he’d get scared. But he absolutely loved it and was the quietest mouse in the room 🙂 Next weekend he begged me to take him there again, only this time around he put on his astronaut costume complete with a giant home-made space helmet and oversized gloves. Now he is ready to give up ice-cream treats or new toys in exchange for going to a planetarium or to an IMAX for the Hubble 3D show.

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