Fill in the Blanks

On the sixth week after her father passed away, my oldest daughter presented me with a family portrait.

I told her I liked it very much. I like how Dad is standing tall, in front of the children, in a protective stance. I like how all the kids are huddled together, bonding, perhaps, in their collective memories.

I asked her, though, “Why don’t we have faces?”

She answered, “Because we just don’t know how we feel yet. We are ready to be laughing or crying at any moment. We just don’t know.”

Blank Spaces

Poppy (9)

On the sixth week after her father passed away, my youngest daughter presented me with a drawing.

I told her l liked it very much. I like how even though Mom and Dad are separated by space, they continue to share the warmth of a radiant heart enveloped in sunshine. I like how there is heaven and earth, stars and sun, and a calming symmetry between them.

I asked her, though, “Why don’t we have faces?”

She answered, “Because all the really important things you feel are on the inside.”

MH Drawing

MH (5)

 

The Lesson

On the way to school this morning, MH asked to “play” a lesson.

“You got it,” I answered. “What’ll it be today? Rhymes? Counting in Spanish?”

“Hmmm,” she pondered. “Opposites!”

A favorite.

“Sure thing,” I agreed. “OK, I’ll start.”

“Up?”

“Down.”

“Big?”

“Little.”

“Day?”

“Night.”

“Pretty?”

(Long pause from the back seat.)

“Pretty?” I repeated. I glanced in the rear view mirror to see Bug casting her eyes up to the ceiling with her pointer finger resting on her chin.

“I don’t know,” she finally confessed.

I laughed and offered, “Ugly is the opposite of pretty.”

She thought on this for a minute and then asked, “Is Poppy pretty?”

“I think your sister is beautiful,” I answered.

(Long pause from the back seat.)

“Am I pretty?” she asked.

“Without a doubt,” I replied.

“But I don’t look like Poppy at all,” she said. “She has brown hair and I have yellow. She has curls, and I don’t.”

“Right…” I was really hoping to stay one step ahead of my three year old here.

“So we’re opposites, right?”

“Yes, well…”

“But we’re both pretty?”

“Of course…”

“So no ugly then? Just different pretties?”

Oh my gosh. I’ve been schooled.

(Long pause from the front seat.)

“That would be correct.”

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