September 26, 2016 by Katia
All the little things.
A week flies by, crawling as it does so, and you’ve already forgotten about the apple orchard. Rows of apple trees. So many variations on the theme of apple, that you are in awe and a deep belief is confirmed. Why would there be so many different kinds of apples? Red, yellow, green, small, medium, large, magenta. You didn’t expect them to be so firmly attached to the tree. There’s a surprising enjoyment in trying just a tad harder to pluck them.
The unintended resurrection of childhood through the combination of sliced apples, brown sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon baking in the oven. You must have been very young, because you don’t associate apple strudel with your mom the same way you do other dishes, but you do remember her mentioning to you, after you had gone apple picking, that she used to make apple charlottes all the time. You don’t know what apple charlottes are but being confronted with not a childhood memory but more of a first-hand experience, the feeling of childhood itself, and in such an unsolicited manner fills you with joy and amazement at what you are capable of retaining.
Folding laundry and coming across his new pajamas that he will be wearing for the first time. A big camouflage patch T Rex on pale neon-yellow background. Pajama pants with colourful monsters and bugs.
Observing his emotional growth. Still unruly, strong-willed and soft-hearted but now also showing empathy to you, telling his little brother that “mom is right” when you gear up for another exhausting argument.
Seeing a boy on TV in a Dutch movie whose hair is just like theirs and agreeing with your husband that maybe that’s where that nothing-short-of-legendary hair comes from, the Dutch side of the family.
Talking to friends who laugh before you even said anything, despite the fact that you rarely find yourself funny anymore, because this conversation is happening between all the past layers of them and all the past layers of you.
Instead of driving you up the wall two-hour-long bedtimes remind you that you’re in there because they believe zombies and ghosts got nothing on you. Everyone is sick with the cold and it seems to be bringing out their gentler sides. Maybe you should do this more often.
Earlier this week when you were just starting your cold your husband served you soup with chunks of garlic, tea and Tylenol on a tray. Your mom was there all week. The kids think babooshka is great and want to take her to the theater to repay for her greatness. Your older son cries when he sees profound injustice or the feelings of somebody else trampled. Your younger one keeps a lot of his feelings to himself, but one day he tells you that he remembers somebody’s voice from your visit back home a month ago, but he can’t remember HIM. You can tell that he felt a connection and that forgetting bothers him. You’ve tidied up a little and converted the basket in the living room that held books into a board game and puzzle basket, distributing the books between the children’s rooms and the library downstairs. You anticipate all the fun you’re going to have delving into those new books.
You’re reminded of how at four years that same exposed-hearted child used to say taking the world in: so much good!
And you agree.