When you cross over the Tappan Zee Bridge, you can be totally overwhelmed by the immensity of the bridge, of the traffic that’s sitting on it, by the width of the Hudson River underneath you, or by the idea that you have to pay how much for the toll. However, as you approach the bridge, you should take a moment to safely look around at the little details that are just sitting there, never noticed because they live in the shadow of this huge monster…
Last night, I want to tell you about three moments in the Marshall house.
I came home after a long day. Kende had just woken up from a nap, something he’s been trying to give up now that he’s almost 5. I asked him how his day was and he said he had something to show me. He took out a piece of paper filled with his handwriting and started reading to me. “Milk, flour, eggplant, zucchini, milk, toys, dinosaurs, flour, cereal, something for Grandma.” I asked him what this was. “My shopping list,” he said. “Did Mommy ask you to write a list?” I asked. “No. I just thought about things I’m going to get next time I go to a store.”
The next moment came after dinner. My battery was starting to wind down, so I sat down to do a quick round of Sudoku, and I could overhear Marta in the dining room with Kende. Timi was running around, busy being a 2 year old. Marta was reading aloud a Hungarian chapter book. They were in the middle of the book. It was a fantasy. With my English major head, I started thinking about good vs. evil, the effects of magic, and the awesome world of this story that my son was so wrapped up in. Of course, he’s not listening to it the same way I am, but it’s cool. A few moments earlier, Marta had started it off by saying, “We didn’t have a chance to read today. I have to get back into this story.” I remember feeling the same way in my own classroom when in the midst of one of my favorite read-aloud’s. It wasn’t just for the kids. Timi kept poking her head in sporadically, and sometimes came to fill me in on details that had just happened in the story, wanting to sound like the important messenger of what was going on in something that mysteriously seemed important.
The final moment was shortly before bedtime. I was cleaning up a bit in the kids’ room. Timi was sitting on the floor, reading a book upside down (the book, not the child), babbling words that sound like story words. “And then…(character’s name)…until…(character’s name)…happily ever after,” all this while frantically turning the upside down pages. I smiled and said, “Come put on your pajamas.” She closed the book, hid it under the covers of her awaiting bed, and came to put on her pajamas, probably sure that she would get a chance to sneak a peek in the last few moments before prayers and sleep.
Three moments. Sometimes I worry that amid all the hustle and bustle of work, of helping other people’s children that I’m not doing enough for my own kids. It’s true, most of their learning habits come from my wonderful Marta who is home with them all day teaching them to love life.
We’ve been focusing a lot on bridges this year at Stony Lane, talking about how we cross them, how we use them to connect ourselves to others and to new learning. It’s nice to think about all the little things around the bridges, the little details in life that sometimes go unnoticed because of the bridges themselves. I invite you to notice these things, too, and share them with all of us, to help us connect with each other in whole new ways.