Today was a wonderful spring-like day. We are still in jackets and hats but the jackets are lighter and the gloves thinner. Julia and I visited the zoo after she finished therapy this morning. We walked, Julia wanted to see all of her favorites. She was so surprised that the baby lion had grown so large over the winter. He is almost the same size as his mother. Unless they changed out lions? I have no idea. The giraffes were still in their house. I imagine that it is too cold as of yet. There too the baby from last year had grown although no where near the size of his parents. Julia read signs everywhere -- all the animal names, some she needed help pronouncing. She is sounding out more and also using parts of words that she knows to help her. She reads directions to not smoke, not carry guns, not make too much noise. It is all a discovery for her.
In front of the primate house, she paused for her yearly arm measurement. Those arms are still not as long as a gibbons, thank goodness, but prefect for a little dinosaur.
Yesterday, I sorted, separated, made space on shelves, and finally shelved the kid books that I unpacked the day before. In the living room, there are now three shelves of these kids books. When I finished I stood back and felt like I was taking back a piece of myself that I had lost a long time ago. I cannot quite say what piece it is -- something to do with kid’s lit? Writing? Full shelves? But there was an emotional quality of coming home. Of being there with myself. A bigger, fuller self.
The feeling lingers, fading in half lives. It got my attention. Maybe there is something very obvious that I am not seeing. I need to refocus or let go of focus. I need to shift realities.
How strange to feel a piece of myself return. No one ever told me to put all the kids books in Cheshire’s room, or to pack them away and not open those boxes. I can almost laugh at myself. Is there an elephant in the room that I am refusing to see?
Today found me in the basement again clearing out the little area beneath the stairs. I could do it because I started bringing garage sale things out to the garage, leaving the car outside again. Yes, I am banking on spring. As I was sorting I came upon a box of framed family/friend pictures. The house is Indy had that great nook by the fireplace that was perfect for pictures. For 10 years I filled it with so many pictures of Cheshire growing, of our parents and David’s grandparents, of friends and their children. So many pictures. This was a box filled with them. And as I wondered what I was going to do with those pictures -- because when I packed them, I remember thinking that I would need to find a place to put or hang them all again -- it came to me that the time of those pictures was past. It is time to put away those pictures and get rid of the frames. It saddened me to know that I have to let go of that time -- the time of gathering pictures, the time of that house with space to have so many pictures -- and for a moment I wanted very badly to hold on to the time. It crossed my mind that perhaps holding on to the pictures would hold on to the time. But I breathed them out, I breathed out the desire and some of the sadness. A time that is past. During the gathering and during the packing up, I did not look back. I was not nostalgic. I know it was because I had a tomorrow that was full and rich. Now I don’t. It occurs to me as I write this that I have no idea why I am so driven to sweep so much of the past away, so much of what is unused. No idea, but a knowing that there is some reason. Partly, I shudder in anticipation, part fear, part excitement. Then again, I may just be cleaning, nothing more, nothing less.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
“. . . you would not be able to live them. . .” I hope that is not always the case.
Julia is interested in the Bible. It is rather amazing that I seem to raise spiritual children. I don’t go around talking to Julia about god or devotion or my beliefs. She has not, up to this point, asked and talking about belief to a child who is bound in the concrete world of things, who needed to be drilled in emotions -- that she had them, that they had names and that other could have them as well -- has always seemed to far out there for her. But this year in church school, Julia has a bible class and she is fascinated by the stories. Yes, they are wonderful stories and I can remember my own intense interest when I first read the stories of the old and new testament. We found a child’s bible with pictures in the church library and Julia has been devouring it. Her interest in intriguing and remembering the Cheshire grew up to be a religious studies major, I do wonder what I am doing. As long as Julia has interest, I need to find other stories from other religious traditions to tempt Julia into more exploration. Again, I remember how concerned her school team is with reading comprehension. Julia is comprehending. She wants to read stories.
Julia lost a first molar tonight, right after tooth brushing and flossing. She was concerned about losing teeth, but remembered that the tooth fairy needed that tooth under her pillow. Oh, how we tried to hook her into that tradition when she lost her first teeth and oh, how she didn’t understand! Now, she gets it. She also wants the money! Even that, which other parents might groan over, that I might have mixed feelings about at one time, is wonderful!
And today when I asked Julia what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered, an artist. I think she is saying what she thinks I want to hear, but at least she is no longer refusing to ever grow up. I don’t know why she was so afraid, and I don’t know what changed, but I am so happy that it has changed.
One more picture from today. After the zoo, we go to Zuzu’s Cafe for hot cocoa and an oatmeal cookie. Just enough to hold Julia through church until supper time.