On Friday you used the word vindictive correctly in a sentence. Never mind that you were using it to describe your sister and that in this instance you were absolutely right, that beautiful five-year-old brain of yours passed right over the plethora of bodily function related adjectives that you’d used for so long as your go-to modifiers for the word “head” and selected instead a vocabulary word straight from an SAT prep book.
“Yea, Danica. Don’t be so vindictive,” I echoed, giggling behind my hand. Danica looked at us both with indifference and whinnied as she is won’t to do lately, then galloped on all fours up the stairs to her bedroom leaving us there alone together.
“Where did you learn that word, Anders?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Sometimes I just know things, mom,” you said, shrugging your shoulders.
You asked if we could color on blank paper, which I was happy to get for you. Lately, watching you draw is like a window into your mind.
Most of your creations have smiles on their faces and I find this reassuring from a little boy who spends a lot of time stoic, deep in thoughts you are reluctant to share. You drew a collection of animals and when you put down the crayon and declared your masterpiece complete I asked if I could hang it on our refrigerator.
“No. This one is just for me. I want to hang it in my room.” You rifled through the drawer where you knew I kept the push pins, held one up between thumb and forefinger, and then retreated to your room to pin it in place with the half dozen other drawings you made for yourself recently.
You returned a moment later, your sister galloping at your heels. Like me, she wants to be near you, to decode you. Her motives lie in a desire to emulate you. You are, after all, the coolest person she knows, the setter of trends, the director of play.
My motives are in figuring out what lies inside your head before I can no longer see the top of it, a moment that approaches more swiftly everyday, as if time is gathering speed as it rolls downhill.
I blinked and you grew past my knees and then my waist. My hand that used to rest comfortably atop your head now sits more naturally on your shoulder when you stand by my side. Soon you will stand with me eye to eye and then, somewhere between crayon drawings and college applications, when the word vindictive is no longer a single word story of how precocious you can be but is instead the answer to a multiple choice question on a test you’ll ace, then perhaps you will look down upon the top of my head.
I hope the wait is a long one and that it requires I keep a dictionary handy.
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