Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Curiosity With a Voice

Caroline comes to the garden with me, a great festering mess of rotten tomatoes hanging from rotten vines that need throwing out before snow renders them immovable until spring. We work at unwinding the gratuitous lengths of wire I laced around my six-foot tomato cages and the rebar stake meant to anchor each cage to the center of the earth. She is surprisingly adept at this, her little fingers making quick work of the tangle that my bumbling, gloved fingers struggle with. Behind me she hums and talks aimlessly to herself until she realizes she's pretty good at what Mom is having a hard time with.

"Mom, did you ever know that you would have a four-year-old who is not so big, who is a helper and works hard like me?"

"No, I didn't know I would have a four-year-old like that."

She returns to her quiet work for a moment, then declares "I'm a Jesus girl."


We are in the van driving to meet Granny and Auntie Maren at the park for a fall picnic. Jonah and Caroline are in the back seat coexisting, for this brief moment, in peace. Caroline threatens the peace with an innocent question.
"Jonah, I think we're near the park. Do you want to take your jacket off before we get there?"
"Why?" he asks.
"So the people at the park won't see what you look like," she says with an implied 'of course'.
She asks this as if he wasn't wearing an ultra cool, height-of-kid-couture, GAP hoodie with an outline of Mt. Everest embroidered on the back. And he is wearing that hoodie!
"Like what?!" he demands to know.
"Well, your jacket has that funny thing on the hood that sticks out."
He's mulling it over. Weighing the consequences of a six-year-old fashion faux pas at the park.
"No," he replies, completely unoffended. "I'll keep it on."
And we carry on, pax romana intact.


Caroline stands on the fourth stair. I don't know if this is fourth from the top or from the bottom, but I do know that the fourth stair is, for Jonah and Caroline, the pinnacle of stair-jumping bravado. It is Greg Louganis on the high dive, only we hope Caroline's jump has a more auspicious outcome than Greg's famous "whack."
Matt is Caroline's only audience. She readies herself while he watches intently, poised with saving arms should the fourth stair prove beyond her means. Caroline closes her eyes, puts a steady hand to her heart and pleads "Jesus, help my heart."
This must be the dramatic indicator that she is about to leap.
But no!
She has a thought, a question for which she requires an answer before her feet leave the fourth stair. Caroline opens her eyes and asks, "Dad, would it be bad to say 'Jesus, bless my little broken body'?"
I'm guessing Jesus has been asked to bless significantly less holy things than Caroline's little broken body.
But wait!
Such a question is more than alarming to the father waiting for the jump.
He might think to stop her at this point, the vision of her question being too much for his natural propensity to caution.
But Caroline is ready, her curiosity satiated, mind turned back to the inhuman feat ahead of her.
Before Matt can voice concern...
she bends her knees just a bit...
and flies...


shelley said...

I don't know if I should be laughing, but I am. I love the comments made by your darling, interesting, introspective children. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Menner said...

I love your kids. Thank yo for sharing these moments with us.

I'm going to be laughing all afternoon at Caroline's little broken body.

Susan said...

I LOVE that prayer and I'm going to use it for MYSELF: "Jesus, bless my little broken body." Jess, you should write this down in a book for Caroline to read when she is a granny and really DOES have a little broken body.

Chani Riiell said...

Gah! If I had your sweet literary abilities, I'd be rich and famous. I'm certain you're just not going about it correctly.

I love these stories.

I wish I knew how a child's mind really worked. Then I'd make my own work under a similar fashion. And then I would jump off the fourth stair and hope that Jesus blesses my broken little body :)