Imaginary Creatures

Father’s Day is this weekend (so is Deadlands). Annika and the kids got me a really cool Lego set I’ve been coveting for some time- early present. Last night I sat at the craft table and built it with Sam helping- he’s getting really good. It was a long build- maybe 2+ hours with multiple kid breaks. By 8:30 or so Sam was exhausted, but didn’t want to give up. He told us he was going to sleep and lay down on his kid sized soft armchair and curled up. We covered him with the play parachute and he fell asleep almost instantly. So far, five is a very magical age.

Grace has a conspiratorial grin- she wants you to be in on the joke. Sam has a devil-may-care grin, the fun is usually of his making and while he likes to share it, his joy is wild and terrible and entirely his own.

My dear friend Nova’s new book- Imaginary Girls (go get a copy, it is really-really-really good!) arrived on the loading dock yesterday- a big day. I gathered the drivers, loaders and security guards around to marvel at the beautiful cover. They were dutifully impressed that my friend’s book looked so nice. “You should read it, it’s pretty on the inside too” I said.

Our security guard, a cantankerous old lunatic who pisses on all parades, tried to get my goat: “Eh, if she’s really your friend, is your name in the book?” he sneered.

I flipped to the back pages and showed him. He saluted me while going away. “I know when I’m licked!” he conceded.

I am very proud of my friend, and touched to have made her honor role.

I was going to write more about Deadlands, but that is for later.

Gracie dances to music, especially if I sing to her. We’ve been cleaning the apartment- spring cleaning and reorganizing- and we cleared off the front porch. Now Gracie can go out and stare down at the world beneath her feet. She loves it out there. I remember going out in the pre-dawn with Sam when he was a toddler, and also in the early evening, to find the moon and stars with him. Sam liked to be held while we searched for the lights in the sky, but Gracie prefers to stand on her own legs and look down rather than up. She likes to look at the moon, but she is more fascinated by the cars and animals and people below.

She notices things (she has a high cognition roll, like her old man) whereas Sam is more a creature of imagination- at least in his observation (or lack thereof).

Both children play by themselves and more and more with each other. They will hide under furniture and behind doors and giggle so I can find them easily. I listen to them play, and I watch the crows on the telephone wire, and I try to focus on the positive aspects of change. Growth is a good word- Half my blood comes from people of the earth, farmers and ranchers- so growth is a good word. It means they gain experience and health and solidity and, well, grow.

But they are still wee creatures of fantasy, sprites of the imagination. There is something ethereal and magical about them and I fear that going away. I dread the days when I can’t find them so easily.

My father visited not long ago and was struck by Sam’s “otherworldliness”. His word, I would never have thought of it. Maybe because of Sam’s speech issues he seems more elfin to my dad- combined with his coloring and features, his tangles wisps of silky hair- I can kind of get it. He is our changeling, Puckish- always running even before he could really walk. Gracie is more solid- our Goblin Princess, we called her. She keeps getting more and more beautiful and now I only see the Goblin when she is grinning that evil conspirators grin at me.

Sam’s emotions run hot- great joys and sorrows and whipsawing back and forth in a few moments. He is a creature of the air. Grace is- again- more solid. She is of the Earth. Feet firmly planted in the dirt. Sam floats, Gracie stomps, heavy footed.

Annika and I cling to each other, watching them crash and flow. Some days (hours, minutes, seconds) we marvel and wonder, some days (seconds, minutes, hours) we cringe and grit our teeth. Always we love.

Nova’s book is about love and sisters. I truly love my little sister, but I don’t think I could have understood the deep, fierce, love she writes about in Imaginary Girls if it wasn’t for my kids.

So lucky.