THE SQUIRTING PENCIL

A colleague had taken a day off to escort his son and friends to Legoland, my daughter proudly showed off her 27th week pregnant profile, screeching babies in the “I-Scream” aisle at the supermarket and neighborhood kids bursting forth from infants to toddlers. It’s so funny that no matter how many times it get’s pushed in my face, the obvious is denied.

Each morning this past week, the news stations ran story after story about how parents forgot that their kids were asleep in the back seat of their car, went into work for 8 hours leaving their babies in the scorching summer heat and came out to find that the life they had recently created was no more. Just the idea of parents forgetting that their kids were with them, is in a way inconceivable but in another way sometimes we all just don’t see what’s right in front of us.

This past weekend was meant to be about children, not the metaphysical journey to the Zen Awakening Festival as originally planned. And not just any children… beautiful little girls were the delicious feature for my camera’s eye. A little girl was turning 3 and her mommy worked all day for weeks in the evenings prior to the party she planned, painted and prepared for. This was to be a special birthday honoring the characters from the movie “Frozen”.

This special mother planned every detail down to the last bit of blue glass marbles to resemble drops of ice sprinkled all around the candy and cake tables. A matching blue flower was crafted for the birthday girl’s hair. Sometimes I wonder if parents really grasp the magic they are a part of when they build a precious little girl; the awesome gift of this helpless gentle feminine that would someday mature and bewitch the masculine.

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I wonder if parents think about the real job, which is to never take their eyes off that child… not even for one second. A casual conversation and distraction could mean the difference between a little girl having her water wings on, or having her accidentally sink to the bottom of the pool. Sometimes I wonder if parents think about how perishable a child is in every way vs. how easy it is to enable a child to be safe, happy and like herself.

I wonder sometimes if when parents look into their children’s eyes, are they looking  to see that happiness is growing inside?

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The extraordinary birthday girl’s mother made cupcakes with frosting whipped like air designed to match the Frozen blue theme. Why bother with the cake when one can just have the icing; the logic of a child inside us all.

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While the mothers were hard at work watching their babies, the little boys came out in the grown fathers who attended the party. I watched these fathers closely, who wanted to be there not because they had to, but because they loved their little girls and loved to play with their little girl’s toys.

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Is there any sound sweeter than a giggling little girl? Conversely,  in every great story there must be a villain who is determined to take that laughter away. While the children were gifted with a glorious day and the parents gifted with the glorious children, there were nasty women behind the scenes at that same pool, sprawled out on lounge chairs, checking their watches, waiting for the party to end so the pool would once again return to the possession of those sour adults.

Sometimes I wonder how an adult can see their life without any memory of their own first few years; as if any of us could say we instantly were born full-grown. I felt bad for them losing their love for precious moments like this.

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As I enjoyed watching the little girls play, I caught Ariel the topless mermaid sunning herself by the side of the pool.

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I strolled around the party and caught a young lady practicing a world-class pout. And a moment later, that same little girl was gushing with joy as the birthday cake got blown out. The cake was covered with coconut snow in honor of the party theme. And that’s how little girls start out… one minute managing a bad mood… the next moment squealing with glee at the site of a candle and a cake.

The mystery of women now solved… what they once were they shall always be.

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One more giddy dip in the pool and then the parents announced that the party was over. The dramatic girls embraced as if there was nothing more to live for.

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The toys were gathered, the left over pizza tossed and cake put back in the box. The juice boxes and presents got rounded up and the villains in the background prepared to take back their world. What could feel worse to a little girl than the thought that the fun was over… even if it was over just for now.

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As we all left the pool, the birthday girl grabbed her bunny and squirting pencil and smiled to herself that she indeed was happy at this moment.

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