EVENT 1 – GIRL
Last night Jade and I were surrounded by friends, a large group of us sitting in a circle in a living room discussing and analyzing what the word “trust” meant. Yes, we all know what it means, we all know what the definition is, but what does it mean to put complete trust in someone ie your spouse? Why do you trust them so implicitly and without question? How have you gotten to this point emotionally and mentally? How could you reclaim it if it were ever lost? Etc, etc, on and on. Now, it should probably be stated that this was not just standard Monday evening fair over crumpets and green tea.
We’re in, what our church refers to as, a Connect Group. It’s a weekly… meeting??… where people get together to discuss a preset curriculum. It’s actually pretty awesome because sometimes there actually is crumpets and green tea. Last night there was chocolate fondue. There was chocolate fondue! Rory stood at the kitchen table begging for fruit and I just kept thinking… maybe I could just dip this strawberry in and give him a taste… but no. That would be unwise. He would never look at fruit the same way again.
“Trust me. I’m withholding this pot of bubbling dark chocolate for your own sake,” I tell him. “Here’s a strawberry. Go find a drum and beat it.”
Back in the room I quickly realize that I haven’t done our weekly reading. I’m such a numbskull! Everyone is sitting around talking about “trust this” and “trust that” and I’m like, “Trust is nice. Trust is one of those things that… that… it’s like… nice,” and I can feel all of their eyes peering into me; all five couples. All ten sets of irises. All twenty-two retinas, cones and rods and all, and I’m sure the whole time my wife is like, “What on Earth is this old fool rambling on about now? Trust is nice? Yeah, so are olives you nincompoop. Get to the point.”
I look into the center of the circle that we’re all creating with our chairs and I see Quinn standing alone at a short table. She’s real tiny so it only comes up to about chest high on her. She’s slowly perusing a box of Crayola’s, pulling out one crayon at a time, examining it’s visual flavor and then scribbling slowly and deliberately onto a piece of paper that has a dog with huge eyes drawn onto it.
She’s not staying inside the lines but I’m amazed at how delicate each movement is. It’s clear that she doesn’t understand what the purpose of the coloring book page is. She doesn’t understand that you’re supposed to color IN the picture, the concept escapes her… but it doesn’t matter. She just colors and she’s probably having more fun than someone concerned with messing up the photocopied page.
She picks up Ruby Red and looks at it. Decides against it and puts it down. She picks up Forest Green, scribbles over the dogs eyes and nose, covering him in what looks like canine mucus dripping from his orifices. She picks up Mellow Magenta and Serene Indigo and Foxy Gold. She colors with Eggshell White, Midnight Black and Purgatory Grey. She selects and discards Raw Hamburger Pink and I-Don’t-Brush-My-Teeth Brown and Jade Sea which I’m not entirely certain is actually a shade of green or a shade of blue or some hue resting in the middle. She scrawls in huge sweeping arcs and tiny, minute pecks, creating something that Jackson Pollock would certainly call art. It’s definitely something I would frame.
Fueled by her self loathing, she continues on, foraging new colors, blending the wax to the paper until… she is simply unsatisfied. “This is the worst piece of work anyone has ever created!” she seems to scream as she silently throws the page from the table and grabs a new paper; this one portraying a picture of a smiling lion. She picks up Fear Onyx – the blackest black crayon I have ever seen – and makes one single solitary mark on his mane before throwing that sheet of paper to the ground as well. I’m sure she’s thinking something like, “Fear Onyx!? Who would use black on a lion! It makes no sense! It makes all sense! I am horrible! I am genius! I am nothing! I shall start anew!” she picks up another sheet; this one a parrot that has been previously colored and abandoned by another child. Quinn takes the tattered remnants as something of a challenge. She picks up her box of 72 crayons, her Pallet of Creation, inhales deeply, sticks her hand in and–
–trust is… yeah. It’s really nice. It’s like that sometimes… you know.” I have no idea what I’m saying. I have no idea why I didn’t read the chapter OR beyond that, why I began talking when I hadn’t completed the homework or taken the time to simply process what I was about to say.
The truth is, adult talk is fantastic and invigorating and refreshing and enlightening but sometimes I really just want to kneel down on the floor and color with my daughter, who’s biggest concern is whether Day Old Carrot Orange is the proper choice for her latest masterpiece.
EVENT 2 – BOY
This morning my wife left the house before I did; a rare occurrence that takes place when she has her monthly Mom Group. She and some other mothers take their kids to a park or a museum or a playground or an underground fight club and the mom’s and the children all sit around and chat and have a wonderful time out of the house, spending time in one another’s company. It’s a pretty swell little club.
Leaving the house, she’s taking this giant plastic bucket of random items with her; it’s an enormous bright green pail that’s roughly the size of a laundry basket and it’s filled to the brim with diapers, stuffed animals, a dirty blanket, some hula hoops, snack pouches and a projector. Sometimes I feel like Jade has this entire secret life going on that I just have absolutely no idea what it’s all about. Sometimes she’ll leave the house with a bean bag chair, six tubes of combustible confetti, a scale from the turn of the century and a box of matches, swearing she’s going to a photo shoot but when she comes back reeking of sulphur and garbonzo beans, I always question her solitary adventures.
Regardless, her Double-Oh life is neither here nor there. This morning she picked up The-Basket-Filled-With-Every-Bizarre-and-Random-Item-You-Could-Imagine and began heading to the door. I’d just turned on some Weird Al (my music of choice this week for getting ready in the mornings) when I saw her trying to fumble with the front door lock and simultaneously balance this 30 pound container of odds-and-ends on her hip.
I quickly leap up and grab it from her, relieving her to lead Quinn and Rory out to the car. My daughter follows her mother, dragging her “white” blanket through dirt and leaves and who knows what else while my son stands by my side and looks up at me. “Yes?” I ask him. He says nothing but only reaches both arms up straight into the air. “I can’t carry you, buddy. Daddy’s hands are full”. He leaves his arms up so I lower the basket in order to kneel down and talk to him on his level, which everyone says is very important; the eye-to-eye thing.
Before I get a word out of my mouth, he grabs a handle of the container and begins trying to tug it towards the door. He didn’t want me to pick him up. He wanted to help me the same way I’d helped Jade, by alleviating some of the weight. I pick up the container, walking in a very uncomfortable hunched over position, not at all unlike Quasimodo, so that Rory could place his hand on the basket and lead the way through our front porch, down the steps and out the front gate.
When we get into the driveway, I shout, “Pivot! Pivot!” an old joke from a Friends episode that Jade and I always reference when we’re moving things together. I don’t know if he gets the joke but it doesn’t really matter. He’s well on his way to becoming A Good Man and this just solidifies it all the more; They Are Always Watching.