I wore brightly colored plastic barrettes to pin back my mousy stick straight hair. I loved Michael Jackson, Star Search and The Golden Girls. I wore girly rompers and jelly sandals. I was in awe with Shel Silverstein’s, Where the Sidewalk Ends. Somehow he knew how to use all the best words, and then piece them together. It seemed like magic. I dreamed of becoming a dancer.
I wish I could remember more about her, more about my little third grade self.
When my Charlie was in the third grade he brought home a paper with a classmate’s name across the title and his name in the byline. It was an interview he had done with a boy named Carter, it was typed and consisted of about fifteen lines or so. Carter had big plans for himself, and from the sound of it, he was pretty darn happy with his third grade self too. It was pretty impressive. Somewhere In the middle, Charlie snuck in the line, Charlie is awesome, I guess “birds of a feather…”.
I asked Charlie about the assignment. He didn’t know where the paper was with his name in the title. Months later I came across it, crumpled and shoved in the back of a cabinet. Each line was worth the wait.
A few of my favorites…
- Charlie was born in the…U-S-A.
- He has lived in the U-S-A his entire life.
- He likes to ride in his Dad’s 1972 Volkswagen Bug.
- He does not like homework.
- He hates tomatoes.
- He hates potatoes.
- When he is 25 he will either be a spy or design Matchbox Cars.
- He is an expert on Volkswagen history and he is really good at kickball.
His assignment stuck with me. It was so authentic and unapologetic. I can’t think of an age when we are more authentic. He was fearfully and wonderfully made. I’ve seen the kid actually gag on potatoes, and he really does know an impressive amount about Volkswagens.
It made me think about what my list might have looked like. What did I think I might become, better yet, what did I expect to become when I was twenty five? …and would that little girl recognize me now?
It seems it doesn’t take long for the world to take hold-for our list to start to look more realistic, more responsible. It doesn’t even take long before we might choke down that potato because we think we’re supposed too.
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14
No worries, I’m not giving up my scrubs for a tutu, Lord knows that would serve no one. But I’ve given some thought to some things I could do. Dance parties. I could easily have more kitchen dance parties. I could also spend more time writing. More time trying to find the right words and piece them together until they seem magical. I think that would make her smile, the little one with hazel eyes and jelly sandals.
Sophia, you were a lover of all things girly. You were both sweet and sassy. You still had that heavenly awareness that we never could make sense of. You spent hours and hours in our basement, “arting”. You left paints, beads, sequins, glitter, permanently and beautifully engrained into the wood tabletop of your workspace. You were, and remain, hopelessly messy.
A bit about your Violin, in case you’ve forgotten. We were at church one Sunday morning, Pastor Sarah had incorporated her Violin into her sermon. When she began to play your precious face lit up with admiration. You turned to your Daddy and whispered in amazement, “I want to do that.” As if there were pieces of you made… fearfully, wonderfully, for the beauty of the wood and bow. The psalmist David, said it beautifully, with all the best words pieced together, “…And my soul knows it very well.”
I think I could use an episode of The Golden Girls, I miss Rose.