It is March 2022 and time for the
Every single day, for all thirty-one days of March,
writers will share stories.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community
"Look at these! I like these. These are little books." Three year old Frog was standing on our couch, reaching up towards the half-wall, which was lined with sympathy cards.
"Those are cards, honey; we received those because Poppa's sister died," I explain.
She turns to her grandfather with a puzzled look, as if confirming this story of mine. She's too young to fully understand what it means to have died, but she is not one to be impeded by new language or terms. "Poppa, read me this one. Read me this book." Frog hands one of the cards to her grandfather, and he begins to read it out loud. Very soon, there is a pause, as he presses his lips together to resist crying.
After a moment, he reads on, with a quavering voice.
Frog hands him another card to read. And a third.
It is too much; the tears win out. His face falters, his eyes moisten, his chin trembles, his tears flow.
Frog stares at him. (Preschoolers can, at times, be so cold and distant when there is pain, 'ambulance-chasers,' drawn to the excitement but simply observing.) Then she hands me the next card. "Read this one, Nana. Let's read every little book up here. I like these." Frog is not to be deterred.
And there we were - Frog wedged between the two of us on the couch, me reading the cards one-by-one as she kept them in a stack on her lap, and Poppa listening with misty eyes. After I read each card aloud, Frog compared their pictures - "This has a bird! This has flowers! Here's a really big flower! This is a leaf from a tree. Which do you like, Nana?"
"I like them all."
"So do I, Nana, so do I."
This whole scene was really quite brief, only a matter of a few minutes. I am again reminded of the extraordinary magic of the young, their precious gift to us. I think:
children slow us down
make us pause
look closely at the cracks
if we allow ourselves to follow their lead
to be present in their curiosity
along the fault lines
There's no rushing past
in this pain