Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Journals are for babies

It was dollar day (and by "day" they mean "any non R-rated movie showing at 10 am) at the movie theater today. The girls watched The Lorax while I (rather smugly) read a book on my precious Kindle Paperwhite.

Mark Twain happened to comment on the topic of keeping a journal in The Innocents Abroad.
"At certain periods it becomes the dearest ambition of a man to keep a faithful record of his performances in a book; and he dashes at this work with an enthusiasm that imposes on him the notion that keeping a journal is the veriest pastime in the world, and the pleasantest. But if he only lives twenty-one days, he will find out that only those rare natures that are made up of pluck, endurance, devotion to duty for duty's sake, and invincible determination may hope to venture upon so tremendous an enterprise as the keeping of a journal and not sustain a shameful defeat."
 I brightened considerably. I have been writing many things in many journals for many more days than twenty-one. I have pluck and endurance! Devotion to duty and invincible determination! Mark Twain said so!

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On our way down to the apartment park my girls passed a man going up the stairs. I heard him and the girls exchange hellos and then he continued up and saw me. He's a downstairs neighbor of ours and has Down's Syndrome. He asked me a question and I had difficulty understanding so he repeated it. His tone was concerned and worried. He wanted to know if the girls, "were my babies?" He was relieved to hear they were. I was so touched that he's looking out for kids who didn't seem to be with an adult.

Yes, they're my babies.

"Why did he call us babies, Mom?" Katherine wanted to know. She was prepared to take offense. She is NOT a baby and was lately quite pleased NOT to be required to wear a life jacket at the water park. Heaven forbid people see a life jacket on her and erroneously conclude she can't swim. She was one inch over the 4-ft-tall requirement and thrilled. (I have a 4-ft. six-year-old. Is that normal? Ah ha! No!)

"Some people say 'babies' when they mean 'children.'" I explain. We were at the park and they began climbing things. I sat down to knit. Maybe one day she'll experience what mothers do, sometimes, when they see their NOT-a-baby child asleep, or laughing, or standing a certain way, with a certain expression on her face - one that's been hers since birth. Sometimes I look at her and can't NOT see the little baby she was.

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