Friday, September 10, 2004

I had a lot on my mind when I picked up my daughter yesterday afternoon. Since she is currently experimenting with switching from two naps during the day to just one, she tends to be much more serene when I pick her up than when I drive her in the mornings. So she is content with just gazing at the trees and houses, as they hurry along past our car.

My thoughts were bobbing around in my head, rascally. Brushing aside my every plea for them to fall in line and allow me to think them through one at a time, in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, I was roused by a voice. It was my daughter. Talking. She told me not to worry so much. The rain had stopped, she said, and the sun was wrestling with the clouds. She pointed to a hill that we drive by every day. Take me there, dad, she said. Take me to the top of the hill.

So we drove up the hill. Funny how you can drive by a place for years without really noticing it. Until one day, when someone opens your eyes and there it is. While we were driving up the winding road, my little girl told me of the adventures that had taken place on that hill. The bravery, the heartaches, and the happy everafters. Once we had parked the car, she took me by the hand and led me to the peak of the little hill. See, dad, she said. From here you can see to the end of the world. Over there, you have the strange mountains, where the trolls and goblins live. And over there, she pointed, is where the elves and fairies dance around in the fields all night long. And oh! Look at that. A straw! She proceeded to taste this irresistible delicacy, sucking the nectar from its thin body. I sat down. And looked around. You really could see the whole world from up here. If you just opened your eyes.

After a while, my little girl looked back up at me. "Dah!", she said enthusiastically and smiled. I smiled back and patted her on the head. "Dah?", she said again, more slowly. Her smile faded. My brief moment of understanding her language had passed. She sighed. The labors of educating parents. Two steps forward. One step back.