Nora runs up to me and says, “It’s dark, it’s dark!”
“Where is it dark?” I ask her.
“It’s dark everywhere! And especially in the stairwell. It’s so dark.”
“Well, what can you do?” I ask.
“I can use my flashlight.”
She tiptoes off in adventure across the kitchen to the dark, cavernous, abyss of our eight stairs to shine her way to the far off land of her upstairs bedroom.
I smile at her inner explorer.
Nora has eyes like brown glass marbles, eyelashes that sweep across her face, and a body of solidity. My niece and nephew used to watch a Japanese anime show that involved people in tribes that had magical powers over the elements. My niece has confirmed that Nora is no doubt an earth bender. Her firm steps and ability to ravage any electronic equipment that she touches including cd players, dvd players and ipads is unmatched. Her power is beyond compare in our house.
Are the broken electronics annoying? Heck, yes. But I marvel at her firm ability to Exist. Nora walks our floors with an acceptance of her existence that is different than in my other two kiddos. She is still only 3 ½ so her perception of the world’s judgments haven’t moved in yet, but the clarity in which she steps is inspiring. She seems to say, “I know my way and no person or thing shall stop my march.”
Later today I am unloading the dishwasher while my older two kids horse trade Halloween candy. Nora steps into my path as I stand with glass in one hand and plate in the other.
“Mama, why can I wink with this eye? (Insert left eye wink.) But I can’t wink the other one. See?”
She winces and contorts and squints but can’t quite get the right eye to close on its own.
Her face holds pure curiosity and wonderment. She looks at me for the answer. For which of course I have no answer so I just stand there smiling at her puppy like adorableness. My mother eyes are glazed in unconditional love.
She is the painted sunset to my watching earth.
A few more acrobatics of the right eye and she says, “Mama, can you help me wink it?”
My heart flits in an underwater somersault and my belly opens into a release of butterflies. Joy for this small request. Pure light and gentle amusement.
My eyes see her. They see all of this unstoppable soul inside of this powerful earth bending body.
“Yes, Nora.” I set down my To Do and cover the few steps between me and her. She has invited me To Be. And I accept. I softly place my fingers upon her right eye. I gently close it while she keeps her left eye on me.
I marvel for a moment at her ability to ask for support. Not to fight the presence of another but to invite me in.
This is a wisdom so often buried away as we get older. Nora exudes the open truth of “Please help me do what I cannot do myself right now. Because I’d like to experience this and I don’t know how.” Softness in her request. Openness for me to meet her. Such a small interchange and yet such light for us both.
I finish with my assist and she grins. Ear to ear (and I think all the way to the back of her skull) she grins with accomplishment. Her wink is no less accomplished in asking for and welcoming my support. Perhaps her wink is even more because we have shared it together.
She has accomplished and she feels that. She has asked for support and received it and she feels that. She feels so much more beyond my imagining.
I have witnessed her and I feel that. I have answered her request for support and I feel that. I feel so much more beyond my awareness.
This simple moment is not first steps. It is not the first day of school. It is not a graduation. It is not a new job. It is not a marriage. But in this single moment of Nora’s assisted wink is our entire shared universe. She opens. I receive.
And she giggles. And I giggle. We join together across a bridge of laughter.
In the midst of the noise, there is always quiet. Oh, how the little magic feels big. Ever so big.