Friday, May 16, 2014

Larger Than Words

If the last entry was about the power of language to make ordinary days feel larger, today’s is about the failure of language to do justice to a life lived larger than we can capture in print. And yesterday was such a day.

It was a joy beyond our usual allowance simply to pick up daughter Kerala and granddaughter Zadie at the airport. When your loved ones live far away, the mere fact of being in the same car with them is a golden moment. But when Zadie entered school and sat in on her first formal music class with 12 three-year olds and me as the teacher— and joined in on the song and danced with the other kids with such focus and delight— well, friends, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Though it might have been a little bit better if I could have finished the class before the fire alarm went off or better yet if it hadn’t been a false alarm and if someone could have figured out how to turn it off and I could have returned with her to finish the class instead of waiting outside for 45 minutes until the opportunity was gone because now it was lunchtime. I would have liked that.

But it was almost as much fun to watch her outside with the other kids, to see the gang of 1st graders (who’s teacher is Zadie’s aunt!) run around with her and follow her wherever she went. (And report later: “Zadie’s fast! I’m so tired now!”) In her grab-life-by-the-tail way, she jumped right into the scene, no shy hiding behind Mama’s skirt. Down the slide, pet the duck, throw the ball, play in the puddle and then run some more with those 1st graders running after her.

Home she went to nap while I had 22 2nd graders playing, singing and dancing. A mere single class to prepare and half were playing Old Man Mosie on the xylophones while the other half sang, danced and acted out the sick old man cured by the Hokey Pokey and a trip out of town. And then in true Orff fashion, they switched. The xylophone players sang, danced and acted, the other’s played. 45 minutes well-spent.

And then on to the Jewish Home for the Aged to lead the ceremony for my Mom’s Memorial Service. 90 minutes of tears and laughter, stories and music, insights into the arc of a remarkable 93-year life. (I’ll save the details for the next entry.) And then my sister’s family and mine back to my house and off for a walk to the Thursday night Food Court in the park nearby. Always was curious about it and after standing in too-long lines, we sat down on the grass and picnicked on Filipino, Middle Eastern and Indian burritos. Could have been a lovely scene, but the generators needed to keep things cooking in the trucks were not exactly the right soundtrack for the setting.

Back to the house and Zadie entertaining us with her 2 ½ year old humor. Where her Mom asked her to count to ten and she would go to five and stop with a mischievous grin all over her face, “tricking” us into thinking she didn’t know how to do it. Over and over again, stopping at different numbers. Pretty sophisticated!

And so ended a day where life loomed larger than my ability to report it. I was certain I would fail to capture the height and depth of it all and I was right!

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