We are riding in the car and the sun if furiously shinning down through the windows. We squint and try to avert our eyes. Sage is desperately squirming as she attempts to break out of her car seat. She begins crying in frustration and finally, utterly exasperated, she moans, “I’m shiny mommy, I’m shiny!” She is indeed shiny. We are all shiny. The sun is dancing across our faces and we are all painfully lit up.

I grab a map of Rhode Island that is folded at my feet and hold it over her eyes to block the sun, “No more shiny” I said. But as I sit there gripping Providence I want to pull the map away just to hear her say, “I’m shiny mommy”.  Her words astound me. They are an exact statement of what she is experiencing. They perfectly describe her dilemma. They are newly invented. I know that soon she will learn to say, “the sun is in my eyes, I can’t stand it” and this will break my heart.

I remember once hearing a collage friend say, “I feel like the skin on an old person’s elbow”. And I remember thinking; “no one has ever said that before”. It perfectly described her state of being. It really floored me. With grownups you hear these perfect phrases so infrequently but with kids it seems to happen all the time. Every moment is full of these language revelations.  I don’t want them to disappear.

When Sage used to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, she’d sing the second line as, “Up, above the world so high, like a diner in the sky.” A diner in the sky, I want to eat at a diner in the sky, it’s a fantastic idea. I bet they’d have great milkshakes. But the other day I heard her sing, “Like a diamond in the sky.” And just like that the mystical diner was gone.  It will now become another story that I tell her when she is older.  And I will not have the words to let her know how wonderful it was to hear her sing that phrase.

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