Thursday, March 1, 2018


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

A Recent Conversation:

You: "Mama, who invented quicksand?  And how did they get the quick in there?"

Me: "Well, Nature."

You: "Nature invented quicksand?  But leaves can't move!  They can't, like, just get up and dance, like this (frenetic waving of arms)."

Me: "No, you're right, they can't.  It wasn't a person or anything that moves around.  It just happened over time.  It's like asking who invented the ocean."

You: (Thinks for a minute) "Who invented the ocean?"

Me: "Mother Nature.  But she's not a real person.  It's more like an idea for something that happened naturally.  Nobody knows for sure who invented the world.  Some people believe God invented the world.  Some people think that the whole world started with an explosion in space."

You: "What did it look like?"

Me: "I'm not sure, but I'll bet it was bright!"

You: "Could you hear the esplosion from down here?"

Me: "Probably."

You: "Maybe the stars inside were really bright and then they just clumped together and made the planets."

Me: "That's a very good idea.  Do you think that's possible?"

You: "Yeah."

Me: "So, then, how do you think quicksand might have been invented?"

You: "Maybe some leaves rode their bike really fast so that the bike chain went like this...(rubs hands together very quickly)"

Me: "To make friction?"

You: "Yeah.  And then the leaves put the friction in the sand to make it really quick."

Me: "It's funny to picture leaves riding their bike really fast!"

You: (laughs)

Me: "So, who do you think invented the stars?"

You: "Mother Nature?  Are stars hot?  Would they melt stuff?"

Me: "Yes, if you could get close enough to put something in front of them."

You: "Can you grab them?"

Me: "No, they're made out of gasses."

You: "So, could you put a star on a spoon?"

Me: "No, they're way too big."

You: "Are they as big as the star lights on my ceiling?"

Me: "Much bigger!  Maybe we should get a book on astronomy so we can learn more about them."

You: "Nah, I'll just google it."

Me: "What will you google?"

You: "I'll google: 'What do stars look like up close'?"

Me: "What do you think they look like?"

You: "Like big hot blobs!  Blobs as big as the moon and as big as this house!"

Me: "You've got a lot of creative ideas, you know that?"

You: "Yeah."

Lilah:  The end of the year is a time of reflection, so I have been thinking a lot about all that has happened since we said goodnight to 2016 a year ago.  Brother started school and you started wanting to go to school.  You learned how to say “snuggle” and “I love you” and “watch me, Mama.”  You also learned how to say “I don’t like it” and “I don’t want to wear that one” and to scream like a banshee.  You learned how to move furniture and to help yourself to that bag of marshmallows hidden on the top shelf of the tallest cabinet.  You figured out how to sit on the counter and turn the water on just to leave it running indefinitely.  You started to have real opinions, both big and small, and real emotions, also big and small.  We said goodbye to our first home.  The one where you and brother were born, where you learned to eat and laugh and run.  We timidly said hello to a new home, one where you will learn to ride a bike and play dress up and sing more than the same few words of your favorite songs.  You have changed more than I could have thought possible this year.  We all have.  As I relive the individual moments that made up the past 365 days, I am aware that they are distinct in my memory, but that they also reflect a larger picture.  These moments tell the story of your childhood.  And they tell the story of our family.  These are our ups and downs, our joys and sorrows, the beauty and chaos of us.  When I observe them at too close a distance, I start to pick them apart, to worry about what you might have missed out on, what we could have done differently, how our laundry wasn’t always folded and our bathroom mirrors weren’t always clean.  But when I step back and view these moments from a distance, I see that there is a polish of love across the surface of every memory we made in 2017.  That love makes everything shine.

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