At Sebastian’s gan, the letter of the alphabet that is introduced every couple weeks is dubbed the “friend” of the week.
At home, especially at the dining table, numbers have become our friends. Sebastian enjoys the challenge, the pattern, and the order they pose. So we apply them in various molds. If you have eight pieces of fish and you eat two, how many will you have left? If you have three carrots and I give you another four, how many will you have? Oh now we’re playing restaurant? Yes I’d like to order a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of milk. 8 dollars? Here’s 10. How much change do I get? Thank you.
The other day, after three bites of scrambled egg, Sebastian glanced admiringly at his father and started to smile, as his eyes glimmered and his voice filled with wonder: “How did Aba get to be 40 so fast?”
He then hurried to declare: “I want to be 100 first!”
He is going through his “first” phase. I want to be out of the bath first. I want to be in pajamas first.
He is after all the first-born.
Other number games have highlighted this prodigious rank: “How old will Liliana be when I’m 48?” “How old will I be when Liliana is 26?” Sebastian readily offers the answers with a disarming smirk. And we nod and beam as our hearts fill.
But when he asked Lance “how old will you be when I’m 85?” our hearts splintered.
For Sebastian time can’t move fast enough while we wish desperately that it would slow down. Oftentimes I teasingly beseech him not to rush when he professes that he wants to be 11 years old or in grade L. The pleading tone of my voice and the animated expression on my face make him laugh.
Yet I am quite serious. I smile along with him on the outside as I tear up on the inside. Motherhood is frequently dishing such poignant vibrations.
As far as Sebastian is concerned, time and us are equal partners, marching forward infinitely. But we know that there is no parity; that time marches without us, that our days are numbered. And our conclusion, of course, must be glaringly simple: to embrace today with all of our hearts.
This morning Sebastian turned to me and asked: “Ima, what color is your heart?”
Um…. I hesitated, trying to come up with a sparkling reply. “Purple” I cheerfully blurted. “Why?” he queried. “Because purple is a bold and lively color,” I said assuredly.
“I have a golden heart,” he rejoined.
And my heart extended. It’s all about quality, not quantity.
Then he darted off to color his heart red.