Sunday, August 21, 2016

When Every Day is New

I am sitting on the couch in this basement-turned-playroom, reading the last few chapters of my vacation book. Luca is hunched over a ride-on Harley Davidson, which we inherited from my cousin and on which Luca’s little feet manage to touch the ground. He’s holding a pair of salad tongs from his kid-sized kitchen, wielding them like a wrench or a screwdriver, pretending to fix the little blue motorcycle. Fix mama, he says. Fee ma, it sounds like.

I look at him and imagine him in 5 years, when it becomes a bike. In 10 years, when it becomes a skateboard. In 15 years, when it becomes a car. In 30 years, when it becomes another ride-on motorcycle, this time for another small person.

But mostly I think about all the things he may be. The newness of it all, laid out there before him. Will he fall on the side of fixing things, of making things, of putting it all together, like his father does? Will he fall on the side of reading things and writing things, of preferring to sit around a table talking all night, like I do? It’ll likely be somewhere in between, like it always is. The lesson of life, learned over and over and over.

I think of the times in my own life when things felt new: a class, a grade, a trip, a semester somewhere else, a job, a friendship, a relationship, an ending. The newness now feels different—it feels less like freedom, the way it did at the end of high school or during a summer in a small town—and more like inevitable, determined, supposed to. Meant to be, if we’re being romantic about it.

But sometimes the freedom feeling is still there, when you’re imagining scenes yet to come. Goals you might meet, ways you might be. When you’re walking down a street with the beach at the end of it, and that summer in that small town doesn’t seem so far away anymore.

In the meantime, maybe these little things—the tower of blocks meant to be a castle, the Dr. Seuss stickers peeled and placed on the back of a board book, the chubby fingers piecing together a race track…even the salad tongs-turned-screwdriver—are all the newness we need, served up everyday, right where we can see it.

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