I just finished eating about a hundred small pieces of these bar cookies I baked for New Horizons. My bosom buddy, Carmen, likes to poke fun at me because I often take these tiny bites of bar cookies, instead of just having one normal-sized one, and then end up eating more than everybody else. This time I was doing it because I halved the recipe, but forgot to halve the chocolate chips. So the cookies are a bit intense and didn't firm up quite like they should, so I have been forced to eat a quarter of the pan to make sure that they are good enough to share. I really don't know if they meet my standard, but I am all out of time and stomach, so share them I will, and hopefully the recipients will really, really like chocolate chips.
When Manny was sitting at the table, enjoying his bar cookie, he turned to me and said something I couldn't understand. "Jesus?" I said. "No," he said and then repeated the illusive word. "What is it?" I said. "No!" he declared and again repeated the word. Thankfully Kathleen was here to translate for me. "It's delicious!" As soon as I understood, it sounded clear as a bell and I wondered why I had ever been confused. Thank you for the compliment Manny. He likes chocolate chips. But I knew that already.
Later, after Kathleen and Charlie went home, Manny was again sitting at the dining table and said something equally elusive. "Watch a show?" I asked. "No!" "Play with Enzo?" I asked. "No!" Manny started to get frantic. I knew I only had one more chance. He repeated himself for the third time. "Play in snow?" I asked with trepidation. Manny's face lit up. I swear confetti and balloons should have dropped from my ceiling because this translation game is every bit as hard as Final Jepoardy or guessing the cost of a heinous bedroom set on The Price is Right.
Connection. It's a good word and a sublime feeling. This morning, Glory woke up too early because she had a dirty diaper and, thinking it would last for a minute or two, I sat with her in the rocking chair and we rocked for forty-five minutes, me in and out of sleep, Glory sucking her thumb and staring at me sweetly until she finally relaxed into a dream. I had to wake Sam for work, so I took her upstairs and she laid between Sam and I for a blissful ten minutes before he got up to get dressed and she turned into a writhing, squealing piglet. The peace was only complete with Daddy by her side.
When I picked Manny up from preschool today, I scanned the white board where Eve and Kristen write all the activities from the day. They were all themed around Chinese New Year. I had to laugh. Before Christmas, preschool sent home a form and asked us to check all the holidays we celebrate. I checked Chinese New Year because Sam's parents celebrate it and, in the future, I have intentions to create some family traditions of our own. But have I ever mentioned it to Manny? Not once. And so Eve and Kristen came up with all these wonderful activities to acknowledge Manny's cultural heritage that he knows nothing about. When all the kids walked out of the classroom shaking their crepe paper/paper plate Chinese dragons, I was really amused and thankful for all the gaps that Eve and Kristen are filling in Manny's weekly experiences. It's pretty wonderful to have other people investing in your child. And apparently that investment tastes good too because Manny sucked on his dragon all the way home, coating his face and hands in a festive red. Nothing says "Happy Chinese New Year" like paint in your mouth.
It's Valentine's Day this year, by the way. So you can have a combo holiday. How often does that come around? Some Fran's Chocolate, a dozen roses, a nice dinner and a red envelope full of cash. Sam, are you reading this?