Alex walked into our bedroom the other morning and told us very matter-of-factly that he had put Marley outside because he peed….in the shape of Hawaii. I was still half asleep so it took me a moment (duh) to comprehend what exactly had transpired, and then I asked, “Was it the big island or the whole chain?”. Alex replied, without hesitation, that it was the whole chain. This boy never ceases to amaze me. Obviously, I am referring to Alex and not Marley (since any canine with half a wit could pee in the shape of Hawaii). Alex, on the other hand, has this uncanny ability to view the world in a way that is so elemental and undiluted, and so different than most people’s short-sighted take on the world around them. He realizes that the white space between the letters has just as much weight and gravity as the dark black symbols that seem to tell the story. He knows that the raw, unfinished edges of the canvas that are stretched over the frame and unseen by most, are actually part of the picture, part of the telling.
Six years ago I was sitting propped up by pillows in a hospital bed, slowly breathing my way through a very long labor. The doctors had decided that Alex did not have enough fluid in his swimming pool, so he was being evicted. I was not ready. Of course that was only baby number two, so I had yet to really grasp the reality that I would never be ready, ever, for ANYTHING. You try to be ready, you prepare and take the appropriate classes, or read the recommended books. You dissect and diagnose all the possible elements and risks of a thing, but then at some point you find yourself flying through the air toward the water with that deep and dreadful certainty that you can’t swim. And no amount of preparation changes that.
By this time, six years ago, Chris had fallen asleep in one of those oh-so-comfortable hospital chairs. He had left the television on, having forced me to endure several hours of a Law and Order marathon, and now I was attempting to reach the remote by circumnavigating the huge land mass that was my belly. With the t.v. finally off and the noises of the hospital din as my soundtrack, I continued breathing and counting and rocking through the night as Alex and I came to an agreement over the terms of his eviction. He finally arrived on the scene just after noon, which is fitting since Alex’s day is really just an endless and unnecessary series of pauses between snacks and meals. He looked for all the world like a tiny, baby turtle. And his eyes were so dark and piercing, as though he was already realizing that what you see isn’t always all there is. There is so very much more than that. Thank you, my little turtle, for reminding me of that every day.
All my love, Alex’s Mom