That is the number Johnny typed while helping me write this blog. Coincidentally, it is also the number of phone calls I've made for a recent story. It is for a publication that I am unbelievably grateful to write for. However, I am ready to put this baby to BED.
It's past bedtime, but Johnny just came and sat on my lap.
"Have I been working a lot lately?" I asked.
"Yeah. It makes me feel sad that you've been working so much."
And just when I thought, "Well, I've ruined his life again," he said, "I just want to cheer you up because you have to work so much."
He didn't feel sorry for himself, he felt sorry for me.
Wait a second, feeling sorry for myself is my job!
Anyway, what a good kid.
Like the other day, he was crying for the poor little hair-lipped children. He saw a television show about these kids and the doctors could only help some of them. He felt sorry for the ones the doctors couldn't help.
But he said, "Even if the doctors help them it's bad because guess what? Doctors hurt."
What a good kid. He's the kind of person who would never, for instance, say, "You need to clear this interview through Todd," who Surprise! is on his honeymoon in Tahiti for the next three weeks. That was actually a different story for another publication I am unbelievably grateful to write for. And it wasn't Tahiti. It was...a pain in the neck, basically.
When working on a big story like this, it's easy to miss the little things happening around the house. Those little things that don't mean much to the world. But to me, they are the world (I stole that from a country song.)
"A North American Rainforest Scrapbook" by Virginia Wright-Frierson.
That was the book I was reading to Johnny and Richie about the largest temperate rainforest in the world, which is right here in the United States. Oregon, Washington and Alaska, to be exact. (and British Columbia, which is in Britain. And Columbia. Or possibly Canada.)
There are the gigantic trees, and then there are these little tiny forests of mushrooms and devil's matchsticks and fairybells and pickie goblets.
And I thought, "Oh, that's the world we live in."
It's an ecosystem, just like the big trees, but if you don't look closely, you'll just stumble over it. The big trees are so much more spectacular.
People try to save the trees. But they don't try to save the little fairy barf (actual name of a plant in the rainforest.) Well, I for one am in favor of saving the fairy barf. My fairy barf...and yours. Whatever small things happened in your household this week, I think that matters. The kind words said or unsaid. The harsh words said or unsaid. I don't care how many bears you wrestled at work, if you can talk to a lamb at the end of the day, that makes all the difference. And vice versa.
And so...the week in fast forward.
We collected leaves, which are still streaked with veins of green, holding onto the orange leaves like warm days cling to fall.
We threw the sunflowers into the yard waste heap...and dragged them back out to use as swords. We broke open the stalk to find spongy white stuff, which must hold the water. The giant leaves catch the sun and block out other plants from growing. The flowers face the sun wherever it is in the sky. Birds peck out the seeds, littering some on the ground to grow next year. How can you not believe in God when you see a mamoth sunflower? They just happened to evolve into the perfect growing machine?
J.J. learned the baby sign language for "more."
This is supposed to help babies ask for more food, but he already knows to simply dive on our plates when he wants more food. So he uses it when things aren't going his way, as in, "I want to call more of the shots around here."
He also developed a favorite pastime, turning on and off the lights.
At bedtime, this prompted Johnny to say, "It's like a zebra in here. Black, white. Black, white."
Richie had his first soccer game. Only one point was scored on his team. It was also scored by his team. Which didn't stop the mixed up player from pumping his arms and saying, "yeah."
As Richie pumped his arms and ran up and down the field, he paused just long enough to give us the thumbs up. And grab a couple vanilla wafers from the sidelines.
A critical person would say that these kids' heads weren't in the game. For instance, one player actually tripped over the ball while staring at the fans. It was as if it was a wrinkle in a rug. And even after falling, it didn't occur to him that he tripped over something important to the game. He got up and kept wandering around.
Richie watched the kids and jogged beside them, kicking the ball if it came in his path. Mainly, he just wanted to hang out with his little buddies. And give the thumbs up.
I give him and the other four year olds two enthusiastic thumbs up. Some people can't see the forest for the trees. But some people can't see the trees for the forest. Who knows what these kids see as they wander around the soccer field. But I have a feeling it is very important.