A.M. Wanderlust

3-13-11

 

James woke up in our bed this morning, and he refused to get out of it.

So I take his older brother, Henry, to the kitchen, where I drizzle some honey on his cereal. The sky is dark and the coffee takes too long. After packing his snack for kindergarten, I guide him through the rest of his morning routine.

With so much patience.

He wants to know if his teeth are clean. Can he wear a different shirt? Did I remember to send money for the Halloween Dance? He wants to wear a different pair of shoes.

“Daddy, it's just that I wore these shoes yesterday. And the day before that.”

We're all dying from the monotony, it seems.

And then I wonder how James is coping with his morning. I open the door. The room's dark. I can't see him, but I hear a voice.

“Daddy?” he calls. “I hear an airplane.”

His voice is soft like pyjamas. He's lying on his back, but his imagination has already crossed a few continents. Quite possibly, he's already had his breakfast with Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker.

“Yes,” I tell him, “I hear the plane, too.”

I take a seat beside him. And as we listen to this moving hum, I kind of remember how a little imagination before breakfast makes for a nicer way to travel.

 

Reading and Writing

My four year-old sits quietly in the pew with his pen and paper. All around him, the sanctuary is dark and full of mystery. 
 
His slow hand moves and concentrates across the space and centimeters of paper. I hear deep, unspoken conversations taking place between him and the lines and shapes. 
 
He works like a surgeon, speaks from behind a mask. On my side of childhood, words can get lost here.

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Moving

I used to talk to myself a lot during my college years. Maybe I had too much time on my hands. But our conversations were sometimes illuminating. 

Sometimes.
 
It was a sunny day, early in the fall semester. I sat beside a window on the library’s top floor. My limbs weighed heavy with pressing questions, the ones about distant destinations. From my oversized chair, I saw how the laurel oaks were shedding their leaves and already covering up paths. Was one of them mine?
 
I wanted out of that library.
 
The weight of my books didn’t matter. Back then, I needed only a single leather strap over my shoulder to tote around everything that mattered. My blue Jansport fit like a good home, still mobile enough for me to move.

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A Little More Air Violin, Please

There is nothing like having lunch with a preschooler. This afternoon, Henry explained to me how the body digests food while eating a stick of celery spread with peanut butter and a family of ants. Apparently, the food goes down a tunnel and then travels all the way to Canada. Upon reaching The Great White North, the chewed up, stringy green package visits a candy factory where it actually becomes sweet candy. Finally, it travels up the tunnel again into the mouth as delicious candy. And with the added bonus of ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate chips.

A little while later, I caught him very passionately holding a slice of red pepper and playing “air violin” with his index finger.

It’s a refreshing blessing to sit and dine with childlike imagination. As adults, I have a feeling we don’t draw on this gift as much as God would like. Perhaps we should be peppering our prayers with a little more air violin.