All week, the child has one thing on her mind: “When can we go to the library?”
On Tuesday, I tell her: “Saturday.”
This feels too far away, but it’s the best I can do.
So every day after that, she checks. “I can’t wait ‘til Saturday,” she says, or, “The library!” she says – quickly – as if full sentences would leave her open too long to the possibility that I might disagree, change my mind, steal the balloon right out of her hands and send it soaring up through the clouds. It isn’t in my nature to steal a child’s balloon, but still, she worries. Every time.
Before she was a year old, she did have a helium balloon (mylar) and all day long, she held the balloon ribbon in her hand. She pulled it near. She let it stretch. She pulled it near. She let it stretch, hand over hand, all day long, even during lunch. She traded hands, too, holding it always in the hand she didn’t need to reach the food she wanted on her high chair tray.
Nap was hard that day. She didn’t want to accept that resting her balloon against a corner of the ceiling while she slept would really, truly be okay. She couldn’t believe it would still be there once nap was done.
She was testing for object permanence, I imagine. But do these tests ever go away?
Me? I check on notes. Still. And the more anxious I get, the more often I check. I check meeting notes. Notes I write to the people in my life. Notes written to me. Love notes. Story notes. Work notes. I check them all – to edit, to remember, to discover something new. But more than anything, to confirm that I am here, I was there, and this happened, and that was/is just as I recall. Simply: To. Be. Sure.
Which got me thinking: Maybe we all have something we check on, something precious, something or someone we can’t do without. Something to be sure of.
And maybe part of getting to know someone – getting to really know someone – is understanding what that something is.
Artwork from “Carrying Bags”