Monday, April 16, 2007

The Orchid

My son was sad yesterday. He is 4, nearly 5 and he misses dearly his babysitter of 3 years who moved to the other side of the country last year about this time. We were playing his USA puzzle and when we came to South Carolina he started thinking about Abida. But this is nothing new. Sometimes he thinks of her out of the blue, without warning and a little melancholy comes to his face.

We often dismiss these subtle emotions in children I think. Because they are not entirely comfortable. They are not entirely solveable, which I think can cause parents to try and dismiss them. There is no real explanation for them either. It is just in the air or something brings to mind something that makes you sad or worried or fearful. Same happens with happiness and laughter - as in dreams, or rather watching a dreaming child as I did S.O.v.2 last night. She suddenly from peaceful countenance laughed. Then it was gone.

We forget that emotions themselves are not bad or grand or useful or good or anything at all except just a color of life to be experienced. Maybe because of their remembering their beloved babysitter (I miss her too, it's hard to describe the fondness you have for the person who lovingly cares for your children) or maybe mine came first but I was missing my grandparents and my uncle - who all passed away in the last 3 years (Abida is not gone, just moved to SC, to be clear!) - I was sad. It came in waves, like grief does....

But isn't it funny how we allow these little flits of emotions to touch us when 'something has happened', like grieving a loss or breaking up with a boyfriend, but when 'nothing is wrong' somehow we think we are supposed to be happy, up, smiley without fail? But that is often not the case, the world is a gloomy place today - because of the news, because of the weather, because of the war. But surely there is great joy blended in with all that sorrow. In the fleeting laugh of S.O.v.2 in her sleep last night my heart lept with glee, joy to be her mother. And in the next moment I shed a tear and a laugh myself as I remember how in my whole life my grandmother never pronounced my name correctly. I was her Da-nella and there was no changing that.

Life and emotions are often categorized as shades of gray. But it's not gray - it's colors, all blended together often in the same moment, like an impossibly colored orchid that is both brown and red and yellow at the same time in almost the same spot. Perhaps that is why my grandmother and uncle loved orchids so much, even as they could not express in words the impossible combinations of emotions of life, they could appreciate it in an orchid.

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