Saturday, February 1, 2014


My definition of the word keeps changing. For example:

1. Middle is downstairs, pouring melted chocolate into little plastic molds. She found a book at the library earlier today, and the Candy Paints recipe has captured her entirely. The third act of "Madame Butterfly" is playing on the radio. “I like this,” she tells me, when I ask on my way upstairs if I should leave it on. “I can actually tell when she’s sad.” “I like it too,” I say, meaning all of it, the whole scene before me. It is perfection.

2. Earlier today, at the library—Youngest’s excitement. Finding BOOKS! About anything, about everything. About DINOSAURS, and SHARKS, and Encyclopedia Brown, and even though early in the visit she has to remind me, “Mom. I like non-fiction,” by the end there are a number of slim sparkly fairy books included in her towering stack. She is breathless and using her best Owen Meany voice and wants to check out books all by herself, JUST GIVE ME MY CARD MOM. We're trying to help her learn appropriate library behavior, but in this moment her behavior strikes me at the same time as absolutely perfect.

3. Oldest. Having never been one myself, I still think boys are mysterious. And I wish being thirteen did not seem to require such frequent anger with everyone who is not thirteen. But then Oldest and I get to talk about things—life and music and current events and technology and, even more fun I think, technological design (he has exquisite, expensive taste.) And I love liking him so much. I like talking to him. I like how he surprises me. I like his friends.  And I think this is exquisitely good. I think maybe it is its own form of perfect.

4. We are standing around the dining room table, painting chocolates and making a mess, beautiful and colorful. Chatting. In the background, a radio interview about the Super Bowl tomorrow. And suddenly, Youngest pipes up. Apparently she has been listening. “I don’t know why they think Quiz Bowl is dangerous.”

Everything that says about our family—that seems perfect, too.

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