Katrina, playing dress-up -- on one of her brothers. She's trying to cram a purple fringed suede boot onto Julian's foot, and as usual, he's humouring her.
Many things about having kids is unexpected, but for me perhaps the most unexpected is the validation of a cliche. In times of family strife due to illness or death, children really do bring comfort.
Today was an especially painful day emotionally, as my Dad had to be moved back to the psychiatric ward because he was lashing out. I've been a useless zombie between crying spells, stung with helplessness, pity, sympathy and grief.
But when I give Julian a special hug and he hugs me back and says, "I love you mama," it really does bring me back. I'm still sad about my Dad and this awful disease that robs him of all his tools to be who he is, but that sadness is balanced by seeing my children, bursting with life and promise and joy. It makes me determined that they have as many good experiences with me as possible before my time comes. They will be so, so much younger.
Julian's learning about penguins in school, and oh my is he ever. He talked nonstop for 10 minutes, spewing facts about penguins -- and good ones, things I'd never have known about them. And while I really am interested in the penguins, I'm also fascinated by his sincerity, how deeply important it is to him to teach us. If a fact pops into his head, he must express it before he forgets, it's critical. He speaks very very clearly and projects out -- he's not mumbling or running his words together, he articulates it carefully and looks right at you with his wide excited eyes.
His Grandpa Jim, a writer, a science program producer, a researcher, would have been completely taken by this little boy, as am I. He might want to find a different stylist for the Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony though, the purple-fringe boots really weren't his thing.