Previous month:
December 2007
Next month:
February 2008

A few weeks ago I was in the kitchen, refereeing the morning scramble for breakfast. Max stood on one side of the (small) room, and squinted at the clock over the stove on the other side.

"What time is it?" he asked. I looked from him to the clock and back again. Ah. What time is it? Time for glasses, methinks.

It was sort of sweet for me, because I'd discovered I needed glasses in just the same way, in the kitchen with my mother one morning. I was looking for the sugar, she held up the bag of it and asked if that was what I wanted, I squinted, she asked if I could see what she was holding...and there you have it. I wore glasses or contacts for the next 22 years or so, until I had my corneas lasered into submission.

I wasn't in a huge hurry to get Max in for glasses, because I also remembered how very fast my prescription changed at first. But Clay is a better parent than I, and he got him in for an appointment this afternoon.

I was making dinner when they called, on their way home from the doctor. Oh yes, Max will be getting his glasses.




I sat at dinner tonight and watched him and chastised myself. I've seen him pull his books close to his face, but I always attributed it to his tracking problems. And now I guess we know why those tracking problems have persisted so much.

I don't know how it is that Max got dealt such a tough hand. I had a rough, rough pregnancy with him, but he was born full sized and healthy. The doctor, looking at his eyes today, asked if he'd been premature or had a high fever as a newborn. When Clay told me that, I flashed back on an image of newborn Max. He was cold, and wouldn't warm up, so the nurses had him under warming lights, swathed in plastic. No one knew why his temperature stayed so low, but I knew that I needed to hold him, skin against skin, and keep him safe.

Here are the issues Max alone, out of my boys, has to deal with. ADD. The aforementioned tracking issues (basically, the muscles of his eyes don't work well together, causing him to fatigue quickly whenever reading or doing paper and pencil work). Apparently, near- and far-sightedness. He has a dramatic underbite that will require a LOT of orthodontic work, and possibly surgery where they BREAK his JAW. But they won't know about that for a while, because he has an EXTRA SET OF PERMANENT TEETH in his lower jaw, and they have to wait for those to come in (his first set of permanent teeth will have to be pulled) to see what his bite is like. He's had sleep disturbances for most of his life - that's gotten a lot better in the last few years. Asthma.

I tried to imagine what the world looks like to Max. Fuzzy all around, and up close, words wobble and blur. I can't picture it, and the thought of it makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

I'm trying to remember that today's eye doctor visit is a good thing. His eyes have always been bad, and now he's going to get help with that. Another tool to help Max live as Max. This is a good thing.

But I can't help it - I look at my long-haired boy and I see a baby for whom the world was too cold. I want to hold him close and keep him safe.

Because the only thing more fun than a visit to the dentist is reading about one.

I went to the dentist today, to get a cavity filled. Get this - the cavity was caused by old sealant on a back tooth. It had come loose from the tooth and made this little decay collecting pocket. So my CAVITY was caused by my SEALANT. That, my friends, is irony.

Ironic cavities still require filling however, much to my dismay. I hate having dental work done. I know, we all hate it. But I HATE IT. I sit there, with my eyes closed, carefully regulating my breath, fighting a panicky urge to smack the gloved hands away from my mouth. My shoulders creep up toward my ears and I find my fingers splayed spastically in the air above my stomach.

"Are you ok?" The dentist and hygienist kept asking me. I nodded as best I could and muttered that I was fine. I lied.

Besides the irrational fear, I hate the fact that I can't talk for a solid hour. Since I like to repel fear with a steady flow of inane chatter, this is highly inconvenient for me. So, for your inane chatter enjoyment, here is a partial list of the things I wanted to say.

People always describe a shrill cry as, "he screamed like a little girl." Knowing Raphael, I think that saying should be changed to, "he screamed like a six year old boy without mercy."

They sent the boys to sit in the waiting room. How sad it is that people are unaccustomed to having children around. They make them so nervous. I am sad.

The boys have come back to see me seventeen times to tell me about the argument they are having. I wish to have them committed to a locked ward. Now.

I have on the prettiest shoes of anyone in this whole building. I'm sure.

I think I might throw up.

People keep saying it's going to snow this evening. I suspect they're just being mean.

I think the idea of a Master Cleanse Diet is craziness, but am I insane for wanting to taste that drink? I mean, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. That could be good, in a spicy/sweet/tart sort of way.

Speaking of dieting, I shoved a fistful of tiny 3 Musketeers Mint candies in my pocket on the way to the dentist's office. Was that passive-aggressive, or just evidence of the candy's minty goodness?

I think our former dentist actually was a quack. As opposed to THIS dentist, who is clearly very competent and also mean.

Really. They're lovely shoes.

I bit a dentist once. But I was just a child, so I can't be blamed.

Ok, I was sixteen. What I meant was I couldn't be PROSECUTED.

Dental hygienists who wear lots of cologne should be arrested.

Oh! Or bitten.

I repent. I won't bite or think gleefully about biting any dental  professionals ever again. Pinky swear.

But I bet I could kick him in the head from here. With my pretty shoes.


Are we done yet?

And it went on like that for a while. Finally I was able to gather up my children and the shreds of my dignity and head out into the world, numb-faced and mightily relieved.

Someday Clay can sing "Is this the little boy I scooped poop with?"

Of all their many morning chores (brush teeth! empty dishwasher! it's like the Gulag!), Tre and Max's least favorite one is called Poop Patrol. This is pretty much just what it sounds like. Every day one of them heads out to the back yard, plastic bags at the ready, to scoop up the leavings of their dog, bag it, and throw it away. Then they come in and wash their hands while complaining bitterly about what a terrible job the other one does, leaving ALL the work for HIM and it's NOT FAIR.

Raphael doesn't do Poop Patrol, because he's always been too little. This chafes at him. He yearns to be in the ranks of the Poop Patrolers. I suppose it's because he sees it as an Important Job, reserved for those who have attained the vaunted age of at least nine years old. He will never quite forgive Tre and Max for being older than him and having all the fun.

A few weeks ago he started agitating to be able to do Poop Patrol too. He usually asked me at breakfast, not my most interactive sort of time of the day, so I mostly just goggled at him and muttered something about thinking about it. I mean, WHO wants to do Poop Patrol? Really?

Eventually he got tired of waiting for me, and he appealed to Clay. They worked out a solution, that Raphael would do PP with Clay on Sundays. This was a tidy arrangement, because it means Raphael will have supervision, and it doesn't muck with the finer points of the current schedule (Tre is responsible for the days with T in them, Tuesday, Thursday, and SaTurday. Max takes the alternate days. Elegant, no? Well, it helps me remember, anyhow).

Yesterday I woke up, as usual, to the sounds of boys staging a violent uprising. Waking up. Whatever. They were ping-ponging around the kitchen, collecting breakfast and irritating each other. In the midst of the chaos, Raphael announced,

"Today I am going to do Poop Patrol." He sounded so pleased and proud. "Today ME and MY DAD are going to do Poop Patrol. Just ME and MY DAD."

His brothers ignored him, but I listened. He was just aglow with the importance of the task and his dad's company. He could not have been more pleased to be going outside in the dead of winter and scooping up cold dog poop.

I guess you really never know what's going to warm their little hearts, do you?

I just decided that the sideways ones are called Stalagmucks

Last night I was possessed by some sort of dryer mania. It was caused by the February edition of Martha Stewart Living Magazine, which had a little article in it that mentioned in an offhand manner that this would be a fine time to attend to my clothes dryer. I read the list of suggested maintenance tasks with amazement. Rinse your lint screen! Vacuum the vent with your crevice tool! Do you know I have owned this vacuum for something like four years, and I have never once thought of it as MY crevice tool? I mean, whose is it? But to me it is THE crevice tool, and this may explain why I've never put it to full use. OH, the way those Martha Stewart types wield their crevice tools!

I was chagrined by the dryer tasks, because I have never, not once, in all my drying career, tended to these tasks. It was clearly a fact to add to my list of Why I'm Not a Real Woman. Either that one, or the one about Why I'm Not Renewing This Magazine, I Mean It.

I was duly ashamed and spent the evening tending to my poor neglected dryer (the piles of laundry were another issue. One cannot expect to do it all). I rinsed out my lint screen, and scrubbed at it with a t-shirt that was lying on the floor, waiting to be washed. I figure, why dirty a clean rag when this was already heading for the wash, right? That is an excellent example of why I'm not writing for Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Then I peeked down in the cavity left by the lint screen and saw huge mounds of lint forming...what would they be? They're stalactites if they hang down, and stalagmites if they point up, but what are they called when they grow sideways? Whatever the sideways ones are called, I had huge ones made of lint. I hauled the vacuum into the laundry room, found the crevice tool, and set to work suctioning those things out. MY crevice tool is just a tad large for the opening left by the damp lint screen, so I was concentrating hard on maneuvering it around in there, and failed to notice that the vacuum had drifted too close to the load of laundry waiting on the floor (laundry on the floor, another item for The List), and it sucked up a t-shirt.

The vacuum started whining and spewing acrid smoke, and I swore and yanked out the shirt. I checked the underside of the vacuum, and everything seemed fine. Whew. I have something of a reputation for vacuuming up inappropriate items, such as sheets and shoelaces and socks and causing the belt to break on the vacuum. Now, I CAN change the belt just fine. But if I change it, I end up sweating and muttering curses and periodically barking at children that if they don't stay away from me I will leave them on the porch with a sign that reads "Disabled American Vets" because those trucks are ALWAYS in the neighborhood. If CLAY changes the belt, he ends up handing a screwdriver to a child and saying things like, "Remember, righty tighty," with infinite patience. Everyone is happier. So I don't mind admitting at semi-regular intervals that I have broken the belt on the vacuum again, even though it opens me up for lectures on How One Vacuums, as if. He thinks he's funny, he does.

Fortunately, the belt was fine, and I went back to attacking the lint wrongness in the dryer. I was still at it (an oddly satisfactory experience, like a pore strip for the dryer, in a way) when Clay wandered in.

"Whew," he made a face, "what is that SMELL?"

I turned off the vacuum and looked around the room.

"Oh, hmm. I don't know. I may, possibly, have vacuumed up a t-shirt. Hard to say." He started to laugh. "The belt is FINE, OK?" He was laughing pretty hard. "WHAT?"

"You are...just so CUTE. 'I may have...hard to say..."

"Right. Sources fail to confirm."

He reached out and brushed my cheek with a rough fingertip.

"You're just adorable."

I dropped the crevice tool and let him pull me close and remind me again that I was a Real Woman all along.

I just never imagined...

If I sit quietly, and close my eyes, I can see a picture. Like a slide show presentation of all three boys, as newborns, in my arms. I studied each face, smelled the folds of their necks. I wrapped my hand around each tiny foot to measure it. Only Max's toes lopped over the end of my palm, and sure enough, he's my tall boy - 25th percentile for height. A giant around here.

I memorized every curve and detail. I remember the first time I saw a dot of stained glass brown in their deep blue newborn eyes, and knew that this one, too, would not have my green eyes. I felt their weight against my chest, and breathed in the smell of their heads as silky hair tickled my nose. I drank in every detail of each little person that I would now have the pleasure of getting to know.

As I listened to each new squeek and sigh, I let myself imagine who they might become, what we might do together, where this new relationship would take us. So many mysteries ahead of us. So much to learn.

I simply never could have imagined JUST how funny farting would be to them, someday.

Playing along

Today was just a day, special and imperfect and ordinary. There were the down notes; it snowed, and was bitterly cold (a high of something crazy like 9 degrees). The boys had Monday school, and we had the usual kafuffle getting out the door, leaving me wondering if my commitment to homeschooling isn’t at least part school bus phobia.

But there were high notes too. Clay had the day off, and we spent all day together, working out and eating lunch at a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for SIX years. We ran errands and talked and talked and talked. He even looked at shoes with me, uncomplainingly. He is just my favorite person.

Max took a piece of art with him to school, to show his art teacher. It is his “art picture” and is made up of torn bits of paper, glued on a large sheet of poster paper. It’s not done, but wanted her to see it, so he hauled it with him to school. I looked at him, struggling to find a convenient way to carry such a large sheet of paper, and thought, hey, I gave him that paper, and didn’t even think about whether or not it would be a waste (often I am too practical for Max’s own good). And look at him, bringing his art to share with his teacher, unafraid. For all the complexity he has, there is much that is just so right and true.

At dinner Raphael, taking his turn telling about his day, spoke about his Science class with great passion. His words were rapid-fire, and he edged off his seat to stand and gesture freely. The teacher had asked a question, and everyone except Raphael had gotten it wrong (in his recollection).                            “And so she was…” he inclined his head modestly, “…sort of proud of me. Because I am kind of smart at science.” We all agreed that was true, even his brothers. At least, they didn’t object.

When Tre snuck up on his dad tonight (yes, he STILL DOES THAT), I was in the bath. I heard him call out, “Hi, Dad!” And his voice cracked, honest-to-goodness screeched up out of the range of human ears and then back down and…a tad huskier than I was prepared to hear. I lay still and listened to him, talking to his dad (“Did you hear that? I SQUEEKED. Weird.”), and a sweet, sharp pain pierced me. When I had kissed him goodnight earlier, he said to me with earnest sincerity, “I did good, not yelling at my brothers today, did you notice?” And he did. He really did.

It was just a day, good and bad, up and down. But now and then, it felt like music. Most days are like sight-reading, struggling to find the tempo, falling behind or stumbling ahead, finally laying it down with the intention of doing better next time. But for a few moments today, it all came together, and the varied sounds and beats and pauses of the day were suddenly music.

Who the boys are: two examples each

The Tamagotchi examples:

A few months ago, every kid on the street suddenly had a Tamagotchi. For the uninitiated amongst us, Tamagotchis are wee electronic keychain pets. With horrible graphics. You’re supposed to feed and care for the Tamagotchi by pressing the right buttons when it beeps, and if all goes well it grows up and gets a job and has an egg (delivered, as I understand, because what’s the use of simulating a life cycle if you’re not going to leave the interesting parts out?), and then you can start all over with the next generation.

Sounds painfully boring to me. Also, I have to confess, I had thought they were sort of…a girl thing. I know, terrible gender stereotyping. Doesn’t matter, because the boys could apparently not care less what I think is a “girl thing” and when all the kids they knew showed up with their Tamagotchis, making friends with each other, well. The boys quickly realized they were the only Sneetches on the block without stars upon thars, and a yearning was born.

Max was the first one to buy one. I struggled mightily to talk him out of it, because he was saving for something else at the time, and I was sure he’d regret it. He wept and tore at his hair and fell on the floor and wept some more. Ooooohhhhh, how he wanted one – NEEDED one. When we finally agreed to take him to buy one, he joyfully filled the time between the agreement and the actual trip with more flailing around, suffering for the love of his Tamagotchi to be. Tre and Raphael followed soon after, and soon the house was filled with the beeps and chirrups of much loved electronic creatures.

“Oh, look,” Raphael would croon, “he made a poo.” That’s another thing. You have to clean up their poop. Seriously. And yet when I hand them a plastic baggie and point them to the back yard (aka Carmi’s great bathroom), they are unenthused about the opportunity.

“I think mine’s going to be a ROCK STAR,” Max exclaimed.

“Not mine,” Tre sighed, “he’s terrible at music lessons.”

In the end, here’s how the Tamagotchi phase played out.

Tre successfully raised several generations in a row. All the boys were named Lucky, and all the girls were named LuLu. Because LuLu is just a funny name.

Max lost interest after a month or so and took his Tamagotchi outside and smashed it open with a hammer to see what was inside. He carried the pieces around for weeks, and after finding shards of it in the bottom of the washer, I eventually threw it out. He is now writhing on the floor, wanting to go buy a Nintendo DS. Now. OH PLEEEEEEEEASE.

Raphael frequently loses his, and has starved scores of little Tamagotchi creatures. Raphael believes himself to be an excellent Tamagotchi parent.

The birthday poster examples:

We have a birthday tradition, a holdover of my childhood, wherein birthdays are celebrated with posters. We all make posters and put them up to express our love for the birthday person. Last September, when my mom and dad (otherwise known as Amma and Appa) celebrated their birthdays, here are the posters the boys made for them.

Tre’s posters:


He has discovered a format that is correct. Wish a happy birthday. Fill in empty space with lots of balloons.


Any good wishes that occur may be added below the “Happy Birthday, ____” Another successful poster is conquered. Excellent.

Max’s posters:


As you can see, there’s a lot more passion than order here.


You’ll have to trust me when I tell you there was plenty of humor tucked in there. The simple truth is that sometimes the intensity of the feeling overwhelms the message. Oh yes.

Raphael’s posters:

Lord, are these funny. What do they MEAN? Who cares? They’re FABULOUS.


Just ask Raphael. He’ll tell you. Fabulous.


And if you have criticisms, like say, if you were to tell him that this…


…is not actually how an “h” is written in cursive, well, you can just save your breath. Because you clearly don’t understand.

And! An EXTRA! BONUS! insight into Clay!

His poster for my mom:


Birthday wishes for his mother-in-law that work in a reference to my beauty. He is a genius.

Tre and Max have asked me if they can start a blog. Each. Not one blog together. For heaven's sake, they can't even share a tooth brushing timer without fighting. They can't negotiate use the STEP STOOL in front of the sink without fighting. Neither of them NEEDS a step stool at the sink anymore, a fact that does not prevent them from brawling over it like a couple of drunken frat boys. If drunken frat boys brushed their teeth and drooled toothpaste down their jammies whilst they hurled invective.

Anyhow. My point is that they each want their own blog. Max started it. He might seem like the less likely candidate of the two, seeing as how he's a painfully slow typist and spells like he's having a  random phoneme party inside his head. But he is also the writer of the two, and will spend long hours, bent over his notebook, scratching illegible outpourings of his very soul. So when he started asking for a blog, I could see where that made a sort of sense.


"Hmm," I said. "I'll think about it. We'll see. LOOK, SOMETHING SHINY!"

I don't know...a BLOG? I've heard those people are horrible and self-centered and...what?

Soon Tre got in on the act, insisting that he, too, needed a blog. NEEDED. would be fun.


I stalled. I proclaimed to be thinking about it. I required them to write proposals outlining what they would write about, what they would name their respective blogs, and why they wanted to blog. Then I stalled some more.

The truth is, I'm afraid to let them out in the wilds of the internet. I'm lying to myself if I think they're not already wet at the feet in those particular pools, but still. A blog? There are blog trolls out there that can even make Dooce cry. They're MEAN. They're HEARTLESS. And then there's all that spam...and what if they develop their own community online? How creepy would that be? YES I KNOW. I rolled my eyes at my parents when they suggested the same thing about me, but I was THIRTY THREE AT THE TIME. My babies are...well, twelve and nine.

And yes, not babies.

I look at them all the time and think about how old they are, all of a sudden. When I first met Jennie, Clay's daughter, she was twelve. She was adorable, teetering on the edge of womanhood. I could still see the little girl in her. In a blink, she's fifteen, and she's no longer teetering. She's a woman, and I search her hands and her cheeks and the curve at the back of her knees, but there is no hint of the girl she was. Then I look at Tre, who is suddenly twelve, and teetering on the edge of being a man. Oh no no no, I think. I can do that math. Wait. Minutes ago he was NINE, and seconds from now HE will be fifteen, and Jennie will be a full fledged voting member of society and WAIT, now MAX is nine and can we just STOP FOR A MINUTE?

I spend a lot of time mentally paging through my choices as a parent, feeling the cold breeze of an end to those days. Up until two years ago, I pretty much made all the decisions, and here's how I think I've done so far. I've been overprotective and shockingly lax. I've hovered and been too distant. I've overstructured their lives and completely failed to build them a proper framework. I've lost my temper too often and treated too much with a lack of concern. And they still don't clean their rooms well, so what is the hope for them, really?

I suppose I'll set up blogs for them, with certain controls. I'll try to find some balance between their desire to strike out and my desire to zip them up in fuzzy footie jammies and tuck them safe away. I'm sure though, of two things:

1 - I'll manage to feel guilt, no matter what path I choose, and

2 - For about seven more minutes I've still got one little guy who doesn't want a blog and thinks his mom is pretty cool.


Date with destiny

Every so often I do this thing that drives Clay nuts.

“What were you doing when you were…seventeen?” I’ll ask, my head on his shoulder. I can feel him heave a deep sigh.

“What do you mean? I was in high school. I was doing…high school.”

“Yeah, but who was your best friend? What sports were you involved in?” Pause, then the question he really hates. “Who were you dating?”

He hates these questions, because half the time he can’t remember the answers, and he sees no reason to talk about the things he can remember. The past. It’s over, have you noticed?

But I love to know about his past. I love to hear about the little details, the mundane slivers of real life that help me to picture him back then. When he was Tre’s age he spent his summers riding his bike and skinny-dipping with his band of feral boys. When he was eighteen he tossed his open pocket knife on the seat of his truck next to him while he was driving, and it bounced over and sliced into his…um…hip, leaving him with a scar that you will never see, thankyouverymuch.

See, if I can imagine his life, I can match it up with mine. When I was graduating high school, he lived in Kansas, and hated it. It’s like a movie, with images of the two of us moving through our lives, unaware that we were each other’s futures. When the rest of us found out that Desert Storm was in motion, I was nineteen. I stood in my apartment, listening to the radio reports, and stuck a tiny construction paper American flag to my bedroom wall. It had been made for me by a four year old girl who attended the preschool I worked at. While I felt the point of the tack work its way into the gritty drywall, Clay was in the sand in Iraq. His mom was working in a hospital in Hawaii, and went home early, unable to both work and process the fact that her baby was in the middle of a war. That might not seem like part of Clay’s story, but you’d damn well better believe part of the foundation of the man he is happens to be his mom’s love.

Clay doesn’t see the importance of all this, which is fine, since it’s MY movie in MY head. But this week we got something in the mail that (I like to think) bolstered my reasoning.

Did you know adopted children get brand new birth certificates?

We paged through them, reading the facts like we didn’t already know that Tre was born July 25, 1995, at 8:51 PM, in Denver. Right there, father’s name, Clay, age, 29.

“What were you doing then?” I asked.

One year out of school. Lived in Washington

Maxwell, born August 19, 1998, 1:08 PM. Father’s age, 32.

“I lived in Washington still.” He gave me a look. “I was SINGLE, ok?”

Raphael, born June 13, 2001, 10:30 AM. Father’s age, 35.

Lived in Idaho. "I was married then,” he muttered.

Well of course he was, no need to pretend. I like to imagine that at 8:51 PM on July 25, 95 and 1:08 PM on August 19, 98 and 10:30 on the dot the morning of June 13, 01, when each boy took their first breath and let out their first cry, Clay felt it and paused a moment. I like to picture him looking up, trying for a moment to locate a sound he couldn’t even hear, before shrugging and going on with his day. Silly, I know.

But whether he knew it or not, his sons were being born, and he was destined to be their dad.

Max's magic

“Everyone grab coats! Get in the car!” I was moving fast, bellowing orders. In the scramble I saw Max scoop up the cape. Silky red, spangled with gold stars, it’s been knotted around his shoulders a lot lately. He’s recently decided he’s a magician, see, so he wears his cape, and blue gloves that once belonged to a Power Rangers costume, with a hole in the palm of the left one. Add one black, plastic wand, and you are a magician.

The cape is quite ragged, if you look closely. It’s just a length of fabric, not hemmed or anything, so it’s fraying all around its edges. I don’t hem, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have any idea how to sew such a slippery fabric, so I choose instead just not to focus too hard. If you stand back, it’s a vision in capelyness. It flows around his ankles with grace and panache, and perfectly accompanies his magic acts, which usually end with him shrieking, “DARNIT!” and dissolving in giggles and running out of the room.

Running gracefully. With his cape swirling at his heels.

So this was the cape he grabbed (instead of a jacket) on the way out the door. I stopped him.

“Is that what you’re wearing?” We were heading out on errands, you see. Library, allergist’s office. People would look at him. Sometimes that’s ok, sometimes it’s not. It’s like his hair. The longer it gets, the more people notice it. It’s gorgeous, thick and wavy. People often sigh, “oh, his hair is so NICE,” and you can tell they’re dying to touch it. It begs to be touched. And sometimes he raises his chin and says, “thank you,” with a small smirk of delight. Other times he stares at his shoes like he’s contemplating murder, then complains during the walk back to the van about how he hates it when people do that THING when they TALK about his HAIR. One never knows.

“Yes, I am wearing my cape,” Max answered me, with just a hint of the stubborn.

“That’s fine, if that’s what you want to do, but you need to know that it’s a little unusual, and people will look at you and probably make comments. Is that ok with you?”

He looked at me like I was speaking Swahili.

“OF COURSE that’s ok with me.”

I hesitated. I wavered.

Ok, fine then. We were off.

Everywhere we went, people did look at him. Some were startled, a few were knitted-browed-concerned, but mostly people smiled. As he walked past, people would watch him with a far away look, as though they were remembering the feel of a cape fluttering behind them, remembering striding out like that, bravely being someone else for the day.

I trailed behind, watching him light up his corner of the world. If he ever does get that wand of his to function properly, I know what I’ll ask him to do. The magic I want is to always, always know. Know for sure when to tell him no, and when to tell him to rock on.