On poetry and kids who don't stay small forever...

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won't slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints. 

And yet all this comes down when the job's done,
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seems to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me,

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall,
Confident that we have built our wall.

SCAFFOLDING, by Seamus Heaney

Hettie and Phineas and a very old wall...

I like to discuss poetry with Hettie. Explaining it to a four-year-old liberates me to revel in oft-simplistic analysis -- which is my favorite way to read poetry anyway. I love seeing her love of language flourish, and am grateful for the excuse to bask, guilt-free, in the warm, shallow waters on the surface of my favorite verses. It's perfect. 

Sometimes, I sit with my girl and read poem after poem, and have what I think are real and meaningful conversations about what they say. Today, as we cuddled on the sofa and came across this gem, I was really moved. We celebrated a couple birthdays in the last month -- Dave officially entered his "mid-Thirties," Willa turned one(!), and Phinny just turned three. I read this poem and thought about how I've labored over these relationships, how we've each grown, how as we grow we change, and as we change some things inevitably fall away... and I'm trying to explain all this to Hettie, how the whole purpose of the life we share right now is to help her become a strong person who can do anything she wants to, and how one day she's going to leave me, and that's okay, and I'm starting to get pretty emotional and as I'm blinking back tears I see poor Hettie is just confused by the whole conversation. "Mom. I already told you. When I grow up, you can live in my basement. No big deal."

Gosh I love these kids.