He works out the intricacies of a rich & complicated life through the tiny, plastic interlocking figures, as the story plays through the lightbulb. Yes, through the lightbulb. A gift from his aunt. At the time I thought it was ridiculous…a bluetooth lightbulb? What use could we possibly have for that? But now, as he plays happily, absorbed both in his elaborate world of Legos and the audiobook that surrounds him in some rich narrative, I can sit to write, finally, uninterrupted.
Except for the man-boy curled up next to me, with my classroom copy of Catching Fire, wearing his father’s sweatshirt (which he will outgrow soon) and his graffitied baseball cap (who is Weezy, anyway??). He continues to interrupt my thoughts with distinctive reactions to the complicated world of Katniss, occasionally sighing or giving his commentary on the characters. Realizing that I am writing about him, he pauses just long enough to tell me that Weezy is Lil Wayne’s nickname and I realize that I already knew that. But before I can tell him this, he is back in the book and I can sit to write, once again.
Until she appears in the doorway, exactly halfway between the complicated calculations about her ten-year old financial dealings and wondering when, exactly, am I going to be able to read to her. She has not only written out her budget, including the money that we owe her hastily written out in an IOU, the money she will earn in the next few days, and the money she has on hand, but she has the names and prices of several different purchase options. I beg for fifteen more minutes and remind her that she still needs to pick a suitable book for her and her younger brother, not to mention don pajamas and finish whatever other details that need to be attended to before we can settle in to our reading time. Off she goes, leaving me, temporarily, with the space to focus on writing.
I don’t have much time; I am flying solo tonight…Aaron is off entertaining his dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail and I have to juggle the intricate bedtime routine that I both loathe and cherish. And there’s the writing that I haven’t done yet. I am determined.
My children’s life revolves around story. It is an amazing phenomenon to witness. There are always stories…audiobooks, podcasts, chapter books, picture books. Stories that they write with words and create with Legos and other toys. Stories that define their play and their learning. Always, they have always had story. It was a little bit deliberate, but it is also, I realize, just the way that we move through this world. It is the way that we explain this world–in all its iterations–and the way that we attempt to understand it.