My three-year-old boy is a wizard in his own right, crafting words and constructing scenarios, diving in and out of reality with ease. Last weekend we strolled, me holding the sleeve of his jacket because his hands were tucked up under his armpits, for fun. We walked over to the lake by our house and flung rocks into the icy water.
“This is my lake,” he said and then corrected himself. “This is our lake, right Mommy?”
“Yep,” I said, “It’s the lake by our house.”
“No,” he said, “It’s our lake because we have it.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“It’s our lake because we hug it close to us like a blanket and it’s wet so its cold but we don’t mind because we love it and inside there are fish that smile.” He smiled.
“Yes, of course, you are right, our lake.”
I’ve spent a lot of my adult life searching for the beauty and the magic my son is so fluent in. I look for it in music, and in art, and in children. I find it most in children. The wide-eyed look of discovery mixed with mystery. The wonder. There it is.
And as I grew, and answers kept coming in books and then classes and then websites, it was like the beauty and the magic was being erased fact after fact, line after line. The more I knew, the less I believed.
Gravity controls the moon.
Pheromones decide attraction.
Chemicals can make people cruel.
Magic is the art of manipulation.
Beauty is relative.
And on and on.
And for the longest time, the years in between being a child and having a child, I didn’t believe in much of anything at all. Feeling betrayed by reality, I approached problems systematically, emphatically yes, but with out wonder.
And then it came tumbling back in.
When I put my son to bed is when he is the most mystic.
“Where does the moon sleep, Mummy?” He asked, gazing out of the window next to his bed. The moon was making the room blue, like we were underwater, or inside of balloon.
“On the other side of the earth, baby.” I replied.
“But doesn’t the man in the moon have to sleep?” he asked, lying back on his bed, his little flexed feet shooting up in the air, poking out of his skinny Buzz Light Year pajamas, just a little too tight.
“I think he sleeps during the day, maybe,” I said, and touched his face. I touch his face a lot, feeling his smooth rubbery skin, tracing his button nose, rubbing his hair, kissing his temple.
“I think the man in the moon goes inside, and he must have something, something like bunk beds or a bubble or something that he can get into and turn out the lights and go to bed, even if it is light out, because, he has a really lot to do during the night time.”
“I can see that, yes.”
“I think that’s right,” he said, and turned away from me, falling softly into sleep.
The wonder that my son has about the world is only rivaled by the wonder I have for him, and his sweet sweet face. The truth of beauty is hard to endure.
Adapted from a piece first published at Glasscases.blogspot