Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some Pig, Indeed

This morning I was driving Laney to her tennis lesson and from the back seat, apropos of nothing, she says to me "The doctor in the book said it was the web that was the miracle not the words."

As those of you with chillun know, parenting is all highs and lows, valleys and troughs, one coming hard after the next. Count this one as a high. Big time*.

Last night was a Saturday night in the heart of the summer. After I read a chapter of "Otherwise Known as Shelia the Great" to Laney she grabbed a book from her bookshelf to read for a while before falling asleep. She chose "Charlotte's Web." I then wandered downstairs, poured myself a bourbon and sat down at the piano where, over a period of two or three hours, I'm pretty sure I came close to reanimating the corpse of George Gershwin so he could head into my living room, slam the piano lid down and say, "Look. Just... no. Stop."

I was deeply invested in playing Gerswhin terribly and it was a Saturday night in the middle of summer, so I was content to let Laney read for as long as she wanted. Turns out, she read the whole book.

We'd read it together before. The last time it was a purely collaborative experience because I was crying so hard by the end that Laney exhorted me, "Get it together, Mom!" and then took over the reading of it.

But then, last night, reading on her own she came across a passage that articulates the poetically rational philosophy that I've tried to impart to her for her whole life. The supernatural makes for great stories, but it's not real. Nature, however, is pretty fucking amazing. There are miracles all around you. Things grow and are beautiful and people are kind to one another and food tastes so good. So, rather than setting up worship of water turning into wine, enjoy water and, one day, enjoy wine. Appreciate the great art of nature.

Sigh. As usual, I'm not saying it well. That Chuck Darwin could turn a phrase:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Or, the miracle is not the words, it's the web.

* Ain't I lucky to have such a smart, book-loving kid? She's also great in that she keeps me from getting all cocky about it. For example, as I write this, Laney is sitting on the other end of the couch, legs in the air in that way that only kids and yoga masters are comfortable in, reading a book. She looked up from and said, "Do you mind? I just farted at you." I kinda did.