Art flows from my daughter’s fingertips like magic. She floats to another plane and Amazing appears before our very eyes. And sometimes she throws hasty scribbles on paper, pronounces it a masterpiece, and marches on to the next activity – whatever that may be. I love her. She is soft and wiggly and bright, and everything to do with six years old. It is a Big Responsibility, being her Parent.
The day I picked her up from kindergarten, and she presented me with a map of the world, I hummed. It brought me joy. The powerful smears of powdery blue paint, dainty construction paper continents, and the labels – on slips of white paper, with pencil-drafted names for these places. She had meant it.
I buckled her into the carseat – carefully. So careful. Sometimes I hold my breath when I buckle her, snugging the straps just so. I walked around the car, fastened my own strap, and we followed our customary path home. On the entrance ramp to the highway, I glanced in the rearview mirror in time to see the world flutter off the top of the car and dive out of sight.
Yes, I did screech to the side of the roadway. I pulled the emergency brake, uttered my standard Serious warning, “Don’t Move a Muscle!” I jumped out, and waited patiently. Two cars passed, and my guts screeched for me to bolt after her work. I waited.
I ran, hoping from some tender place that has never grown up, that it had not been run over or otherwise destroyed. More cars came. I waited. I could see it, Right There, in the middle of the entrance ramp. As soon as I could, I darted out, grabbed it, and hugged it to my chest, afraid to look. I jogged back to the car.
Safely inside, she asked me, “what happened mama?” I told her, “the world flew away and I had to grab it.” She looked very worried; I pretended I was not. I joked, “I saved the world, Bug.” She looked it over, nodded, and told me I should be more careful. Then, modeling the utmost gravity, said “Thanks for saving the world, mom.”