Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I want to take a snapshot of exactly how you are right now. I want to carry it with me always to remind me of this time. This time when you were mine, only mine. A time before you belonged to the world of school, friends and teachers. A time when I was the center of your world and you were the center of mine. A time before you have to share me with Turtle, a brother, an unknown. A time when it was just the two of us.
In my snapshot there will be a sunny, warm day. There will be a playground full of children laughing, shouting, running and playing. But my snapshot will not focus on that action, instead we will be a few yards away. We will be under the shade of two large burr oak trees. The sunlight will filter through the trees, dancing on the ground as the wind blows the leaves above.
We will stand there you and I, together. We are apart from the action and the chaos of the playground because we have a greater purpose. There is work to be done. There are things to discover. There is nature to explore.
In my snapshot, you will be crouched above the ground, reaching down, examining what nature has to offer. I will stand nearby with my hand stretched out, waiting. Occasionally you will turn to me with a new discovery, a leaf, an acorn, the whole world. You will place it in my outstretched hand for safe keeping. You know that I will hold your treasure as dear as I hold you.
You find an acorn cap from the burr oak, you turn to me and exclaim "Momma, this is an acorn pail just like mouse had in Bear Wants More." For a moment, I am stunned that you can remember such a small detail but then I realize that is who you are. You remember things.
We talk about how we can't take all the acorns. We have to save some for the squirrels and chippers. I tell you how they will collect the acorns and other seeds and they will store them for winter. You pause for just a moment, letting this information sink in, thinking. Then you grab some sticks and leaves. You bend over, close to the ground, working furiously. You turn and gather some acorns, And then you turn back to your work. You step back to survey your work. You make a few final adjustments. You stand up with a satisfied look in your face and say "Momma, I made an acorn house for the squirrels." And it is perfect.
Full of your accomplishment, you move on. You exclaim with delight when you find a lady bug. You pick it up, letting it crawl on your hand. You hold on to it, not wanting it to get away. For a moment, I cringe. I don't want you to love this bug too much, until there is nothing left. But you don't. You know better. Holding the bug in one hand, you grab acorn caps with the other. You place the lady bug in a cap and cover it with another cap, building a cage, a home for the bug. You carry that home with you for the rest of our adventure, occasionally opening it to check on him. Placing a blade of grass in the house so he has something to eat. You care so much about this little lady bug, you want to make sure he is safe.
When my hands are too full of treasures, it is time to go. You find some soft leaves. You gather them into a pile. You open the lady bug house and you place him gently on the leaves. You try to remember the rhyme "lady bug, lady bug fly away home" but you forget how it goes. But it doesn't matter, you make up your own version and it fits, perfectly.
On the way to the car, we find another acorn. You pick it up to examine it. You hold it up for me to see. "Momma, this acorn is different. Its from a white oak." Of course it is. And it comes home with the rest of our treasures.
This is how I see you, so excited about the world and all of the mysteries it holds. You can't wait to learn. You want to know everything. You want to know it right now.
I want to capture this moment. I want to place it in a locket around my neck, and wear it next to my heart. You are wonderful now. You are perfect. You are 3 1/2. You are ancient. You are timeless. You are my daughter and I love you.