By David DeWitt
There was a noticeable silence in the backseat of the car while I was running a recent errand with Finn.
At a stop light I glanced in the rearview mirror to see if he was napping.
Instead he was staring out the window lost in thought.
After another long period of silence he sighed.
“I can’t believe I’m a kid,” he said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I just can’t believe I’m alive!” he said.
“Well, where were you before?” I asked.
“Deeeeep in space” he said.
“Really?” I replied “Where in space?”
“Uhh… Bortron 7, I think,” he said, breaking out of his spell. (Bortron 7 is a planet on the PBS kids show, Ready Jet Go)
For a moment it seemed I caught a glimpse of that special connection children have with the other side. That connection that becomes difficult to tap into as we age.
It is a miracle we’re alive. A thought worth contemplating on a regular, if not daily basis.
But especially so after a lamentably unrelenting winter.
Last weekend we popped into New York City to visit with a long time friend of Erin’s. She has two girls, one who is Finn’s age and another a little younger. Fun activities within close walking distance of their hotel were in order.
The New York Public Library was close by, where the kids spent a little time reading and the rest of the time pretending to scan books with a computer mouse.
But a great surprise was the original Winnie the Pooh, which is on display there. I’ve always wanted to see it.
The kids, though just having met for the first time, played and laughed together mirroring the familiarity of Erin and Lisa, their mom.
On the way to the library we passed Bryant Park, which was in the process of dismantling their winter ice rink. Thankfully, the carousel was running!
The kids all wanted to go on it. Finn had never been on one. (I know. Delinquent parents!)
Which horse will he choose? I thought to myself: Black, white or tan? Running or standing?
None of the above, it turns out. He chose the rabbit, which I didn’t notice till he mentioned it.
He eagerly handed off his ticket and climbed in all by himself.
The air was cold enough to warrant our winter coats. It was St. Patrick’s day, and despite a crowded sidewalk and the occasional wafting beer breath of tottering tourists, there was magic in the moment.
There was a childhood first taking place after all.
And as the music started up and he rode out of sight then back again I couldn’t help but see the symbolism of the seasons turning.
In a few days the equinox would be here.
Though we may not see real change for a couple of more weeks, Spring will get here.
Coming ‘round the bend like a happy kid riding a March hare.
We made it.
“I just can’t believe I’m alive!”