My very occasional housekeeper, Margarita, appeared yesterday with her “tail.” That’s how Mexican people refer to their trailing children, she explained, and with spring break upon us, the tail meant a visit from ten-year old Jocelyn.
I first got to know Jocelyn when her worried mother asked me to evaluate her reading skills. She feared Jocelyn wasn’t doing as well as she should be. So armed with expert advice from one of my teaching friends, I met with the little girl, then eight-years old, only to discover she reads better than I do. I put Margarita’s fears at bay and that was that. But from the experience, Jocelyn and I have become buddies.
We sat on the sofa together for a while yesterday morning and conversation turned to homonyms, as it so often does. What? Not in your house? When we had wrung (rung) that subject dry, we headed out into the garden where Jocelyn wanted to see first-hand the inner workings of the compost pile. She was intrigued by where exactly the coffee grounds I had saved that morning were going to end up.
Imagine that. A little girl who flatly refused to watch TV because she said it would make her bored. And then she lit up with “Hey, that’s another homonym. Bored and board!” And looked at me proudly for approval.
Instead she wanted to help me in the garden. We trimmed and raked and filled wheelbarrows together while Jocelyn regaled me with stories about the bad boy who hit himself in the eye with a pencil and had to go to the nurse and her nice teacher, Mr. Dunnivan, and her visit to the Science Museum and her upcoming field trip to Jamestown and……you get the picture, right?
And as we headed off to the compost pile, she suddenly stopped and exclaimed “Oh, it’s beautiful! Look, Miss Barbara, it looks just like waves.” And I saw that the arborvitae I was passing by without notice was indeed covered in golden-tipped waves.
When I praised her for being so observant, she beamed and said the bush was giving her “high-fives.” Oh sweetheart, I’ll never look at that bush the same way again.
But here’s why I’m telling you this story. Just picture this: a little girl eagerly scooping up a handful of compost in total amazement and then raising it to her face to inhale.
“Oh, it smells so good. Just like what you buy in the store. I can’t believe it!”
Would it surprise you to know this made me choke up a bit? Well, it did. Nothing like child-like wonder at something I take completely for granted to change my perspective on beauty.
We filled the wheelbarrow with black gold and headed into the garden. “Can I spread it?” When she finished, she looked proudly at her work and said with such satisfaction, “Now it looks so much better. It’s beautiful.”
Yes, honey, it sure is. And so are you. Thanks for letting me see my garden through your big brown eyes.
Thanks for reading,