freude schöner götterfunken = joy, beautiful spark of the gods
Oh, the joy of an incredible day with my Boo. And I learned a thing or two. I’ll commence in telling you (says Dr. Seuss).
My mother can be exceptionally discerning. She started to notice that Jonah, when we first pick him up, greets her by declaring what there is for lunch. I’m not saying Jonah is psychic; it’s not like there are 100 items on the menu. But it is interesting nonetheless because she makes tuna sandwiches one week and turkey the next, in a routine from which she does not vary.
Still, when she declared to me yesterday that Jonah tells her the right kind of sandwich on the right week, I doubted her. “You watch,” she said. “Today he’ll say tuna.” And sure enough, when we picked him up yesterday, the first words out of his mouth were “tune-fish samwich?”
I realize how this may not seem like an accomplishment worth mentioning but I thought it was incredibly cool. He remembers things very well. He knows where he is in the world at all times, even when you think he’s not paying any attention. He’s no Rainman, but he does have a few strange, fascinating ”splinter skills.” (There are reports of individuals with an incongruous repertoire of abilities: apparently general cognitive impairment coupled with outstanding performance in specific areas, such as music, drawing, calculation, and memory).
Two or so years ago he started to utter the alphabet backwards, fast. Who can do that?
And I’m not sure his swimming abilities are a splinter skill too but nature (God?) made him completely at home in (and under) the water, happily Pisces, a true fish who is unfortunately out of water most of the time. If I had the money I’d buy us a private tropical place and hire a team of caregivers and teachers, and we’d swim every single day, with dolphins and manta ray, and he could run up and down the sands and jetties as fast as his long, lithe legs could carry him. I have to get that child to the beach again. I need to find a way.
Now I’m rambling, unfocused.
Yesterday. On the ride from Anderson to Andy’s apartment, Jonah wanted me to kiss his hand. He proffered said royal hand to me from the backseat. Kiss hand?
Yes, Boo, of course kiss hand. I kissed each finger and then pretended to suck his thumb, eliciting much joy from Boo.
I don’t know why I didn’t color my own hair a deep blue when I was younger. I guess because I’ve always had a job, and since I graduated college in the early 90s they’ve frowned upon blue hair unless you work at a head shop.
If I ever don’t have a job I’m going to color my hair deep blue for a while.
I really don’t care if he has splinter skills or not, of course. I just think he is a fascinating manifestation of a boy, and on top of that I get to be his mother, albeit imperfectly and frightened as hell at every turn. And yesterday: more kiss? more kiss? At the apartment and on car ride to the transfer station. More kiss? More kiss? Beautiful words. Treasured words. Joy.
Joy, beautiful spark of the Gods. freude schöner götterfunken – from the Ode to Joy by Ludwig von Beethoven (Gina’s favorite composer). They played the Ode to Joy as Andy and I exited the church with heartsmiles on our wedding day, August 19, 2000. – I’d sung the Ode to Joy in college with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra. On that day – my wedding day – I felt joy so strong I almost couldn’t take it. The day was a perfect sunny 70 degrees, as if the weather were celebrating with us. There is still celebration in it, no matter how the subsequent years have unfolded. You can’t take that kind of joy away, not ever.
I live for it. Like an open window from which you can glimpse heaven itself. It’s in the uncontrollable laughter, the uninhibited play, the favorite books, the embrace of a partner, the eyes of your child, the song that lifts you, the friend who shares, the pets who love unconditionally, the innocence that brings tears to your eyes, the purity of grace which cannot be denied.
My favorite love poem.
XVII (I do not love you…)
by Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.