Now, two days before this 36×37 adventure comes to an end, I’m staring down the barrel of my most sentimental assignment to date—Build a Family Time Capsule. I wish I’d given this idea more thought before now; a recap of the year so close to its end is anything but a good idea.
Because at first, my family searched the house for tokens to represent ourselves as individuals. I gathered: a three-year-old photo of the four of us outside on a sunny fall day; a dog-eared copy of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury; a widowed blue topaz earring that belonged to my grandmother.
I thought these things could sketch an outline of my character. But given the context, that sketch had no meaning, and I knew it.
Meanwhile, my fellas chose items that made much more sense. The boys handed me Lego guys and plastic, four-inch super heroes. (Appropriate selections, to be sure; they dominated nearly every conversation we’ve had this year.) GB added his ticket to OSU Vs. Miami 2010, his grandmother’s obituary from January, and last June’s Father’s Day card.
All tokens of April 2010 to April 2011.
That’s when I realized this assignment shouldn’t speak for us one by one. It should show the things families do to sustain themselves, to sustain each other.
Tonight, H sits down to dinner and reads us four books. He does this after 30 minutes of bike riding on a bright spring day. He can add and subtract now. He has a best friend. Soccer starts Saturday. Karate starts Monday. All of these things are new.
O made a duck this week at preschool. He can count to 50 with a little help, and he’s quick as a whip at building puzzles. He draws people and houses and cheerful flowers. He calls me “Mommy” now instead of “Mama.” It’s new and wonderful stuff. All of it.
GB has learned to relax. These days, there are games of chase, hoops in the driveway, funny late night conversations, a zest for traveling and exploring our surroundings. It’s hard for grown-ups to find balance, but I think he’s starting to master it.
And me, I’ve learned to take inventory. I thought I counted blessings before. I thought I did, but really, I had no idea.
Now my time capsule list is very different. To the super heroes and Lego guys and ticket stubs, I’ll add print-outs of each and every 36×37 assignment.
It just seems obvious. Let this year and this family speak for itself.
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