Operation Caffeination

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Matriarch

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To my laughing baby

Today you are happy, and I’m happy, too.

I wish I could bottle your giggles up like the glittery snowflakes in my mother’s snowglobe-

That I used to pull out to look at on rainy days, when there wasn’t much to be happy about at all.

On those days, I used to slip away from your granddad and your nana and all of your aunties and all of their pets

And I would climb into the attic and listen to the sound of raindrops beating on the shingles above my head.

The attic was hot, and the heat forced the fire-colored sap to run from the rafters, where it would slowly, slowly turn into sharp, frosted crystals that filled the room with the scent of pine. I used to lay on my back on an old quilt that smelled a little of gasoline, and trace the patterns in those crystals over and over again with my eyes.

I used to hide books in that attic, special books. “The Secret Garden” was my favorite, of course, but I also loved books about horses, ships, talking animals, magic carpets, sea monsters, exploding stars. I used to hide in my attic for hours, and forget all about the world around me as I lost myself in the magical stories I loved so much.

I kept my diary in that attic, too, and that was the most precious book of all. No one else was allowed to touch it, and when I left it unguarded I always remembered to lock it. I hid the key in my grandmother’s old jewelry box so that no one would find it while I was gone. No one could know my secrets that way.

I used to have a lot of secrets. I’ve shared most of them with you already, but I remembered to save a few for later. I hope that you have wonderful happy secrets someday that make your eyes sparkle and make you feel full of mystery.

I want you to have clubhouses, forts, climbing trees, favorite lakes for swimming and camping and a favorite fishing spot. You should know the best spot for picking enormous, juicy berries, and where to find the really interesting books at the library -not the boring kid stuff that’s all pictures and no words. I want you to read the adventure stories, books that matter. I want you to read the books that make your head spin with images of your own dreaming.

Someday, you will have babies of your own to take care of, and it will be hard to find time to read or to swim, to battle dragons or pick berries to eat on top of your oatmeal with cream. I will be old by then, and my days will once again be filled with long reads and even longer thinks.

I hope that, someday, when you are too tired to face the world and just want to slip away for awhile, you’ll bring your children to see me, and I will be the spider who spins gossamer tales for them to drink in through their shining eyes.

And you, my laughing little one, will tip-toe away while they listen, off to your own quiet place, to listen to the rain patter,

To fill your life with secrets and adventures of your own.

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Written by GRSeim

March 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm

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