When I consider my loves on this Valentine’s day, I am joyful. I have a wonderful husband, who appreciates me in ways that no other could possibly find appealing. He enjoys from me, the way I fret, the peculiar phrases I make up, my mispronounced words or the grimaces I give him when he is driving me crazy....when frustration that borders fury turns to laughter and a cracked smile.
Then there is the love/hate debate that I have over some of his habits like leaving the door to the dishwasher down, or the fact that there are stacks of clothes in the closet, but our dresser remains empty, or that our counters are always full of crumbs even after he is done cleaning the kitchen. The best is the familiar fffffwwaapp, fwap, fwap, fwap sound that the plastic bread sack makes when he slaps it’s side, causing the bag to spin and twist holding in the bread’s freshness. I know at that moment that I don’t even need look up - knowing with both his hands occupied, a multigrain slice will be hanging tightly in his mouth. There is something oddly comforting that comes with that kind of predictability. We’ve reached that point after 24 and a half years married that sometimes our hurried words with kids at our feet just lead to a furrowed brow and further miscommunication, but other times in just a glance we can have a whole conversation.
Taking my hubs and adding my two little lovelies is like the delicate pairing of wine and food that enhances one’s culinary enjoyment. Where Pat is my intoxicant (I was smitten by him from the beginning), the girls are my savory. They are both piquantly pleasant to my mind, forever stimulating our conversations with acutely curious observations and worldly wisdom as seen through their youthful eyes of wonder.
In the spray of water from our two shower heads the other day, Devi and I were soaping up she pointed to her belly button and said...
“Momma, I know what this is.” I said, “Of course you do, silly, it is your belly button - your beboh!”
“No, it is where my unbilipal cord hooked me to my real momma.”
“Well, sweetie, you are right, it IS where your umbilical cord hooked you to your birth mother, but when you say REAL momma, your birth mother and I are both REAL mommas. Remember, birth mother or tummy momma means that she is the one that grew you in her tummy. I really wish I could have grown you in MY tummy, but I couldn’t.”
“Well, your unbilipal cord is blue and green and all wrinkly.”
“How do you know? Have you seen pictures of one or something?”
“Yes, Mr. Stanley showed us. It works like a straw so that I could suck food and stuff from my tummy momma.”
“Oh, I see. Do you have any other questions about your umbilical cord?”
“Yes pumpkin pie...”
“I’m glad you could not grow me in your tummy.”
“Why is that?”
“Because then when you came for me, it was really the first time you ever saw me!”
“Well, then I guess I am glad too!”
Devi has been learning about Native American Indians. She is fascinated by the fact that though she is an Indian...she is not a Native American one - she is a South Asian Indian. She also LOVES the planets. After learning that Mars could sustain life, she has decided she would like to be the first one there. Last weekend was spent on a science experiment trying to create the conditions on Mars. So she made her own "polar icecaps". Devi took a bowl of water and placed it in the freezer...she added red food coloring to make in look more like Mars AND gold fish that became the "rocks" and cheerios that became the "asteroids". She was completely thrilled with the result! I love how inquisitive she has become and will never tire of watching the fascination that overcomes her face with the joy of learning something new.
If titles were given to family members, Treya’s would be Executive Assistant or Assistant to the Director. She would be the one who hands the head of the household their perfectly brewed coffee moments before they ask. She keeps track of the daily schedule, with planned events and location committed to memory, forever telling me, "I memburin" you, momma." This meaning I am reminding you.
Up until recently, Treya's conversations have been mostly about what she wants or needs, but lately we have noticed a new depth to them. Her curiosity has become more keenly aware of the world around her. As we were driving along the waterfront recently she was watching some birds fly very close to the water and she asked, "Momma, are dher dissies [fishies] down dher?
"Yes!", I said.
"Well are dhey gonna eat dows birdies?"
"No sweetie, I think those birds are going to eat the fishies for lunch."
"Dows birdies like fishies or not?"
"Yes, they do."
Realizing what the birds were flying low looking for food, she shook her head and said, "Oh man. Poor dissies."
Yesterday when I was putting Treya in her car seat after preschool, she pulled a penny out of her pocket. She pointed to the face on the front and said, "Momma, dhat guy is hadding a burtday! Ms. Shannon say he tall wit a bured [beard]." So excited that her conversations have become so full of wonderful learned facts and bits of trivia. It is so fun to witness her learning and I soak up each and every conversation!
The last of my loves, though not pictured, is Bengal the dog. I'll call him the dessert. A counter surfer, he steals my meals right out from under my nose (6 raw chicken breasts) without so much as a sound, a spilled drop or footprint. He loves to be chased, though at 40 mph who is fooling who? A hassle at times, his all-4-paws-up-in-the-air favorite sleeping position brings a smile every time. He is definitely just one of the family who wants to be with us all the time. I suppose that is why he joined us last Friday night...in the shower! Yes, all 5 of us at once, in the shower, together...with soap!
At times it seems that the fast pace of life keeps me from truly appreciating all these wonderful little things about all of my loves. I cannot think of a finer time than Valentine's day to stop, pause and consider each of mine. Happy Valentine's day - mine is delicious!