I keep finding tender purple pansies growing in corners of my yard where they were never planted. Stubborn and fragile, cheerful without cause, they remind me of Caroline. Purple was her favorite color. She used to help me plant the pansies every fall, or at least I think she did, because too many of the good memories are so faint now. In a storybook a father would remember everything, but it's not true; you lose things no matter how desperately you cling to them. In a storybook there would be new memories replacing these fading ones; in a storybook she would still be here.
When the wind hits the leaves just so, I feel her hair blowing against my face. When the sun touches the ocean in the late afternoon, I see her smile. When her brothers giggle, I hear her laugh, and in their prayers I hear her whisper. She is still here, just not in the way I would like.
I can wait. I'm stubborn too, like those flowers out of place. I can wait.
The children were all tucked into their beds, and my wife and I were settling into that blessed sliver of time when all is quiet in the house and we are actually awake to enjoy it. Then a strange sound drifted from the baby monitor. A gaspy, sucking kind of sound. I raced up the steps and threw open the door to Isaac's room. He was lying on his belly, and when he heard me enter he popped his great bald cube of a head up over the crib bar and gave me a gummy grin. Then he returned to the evening's entertainment, which was flurgling his forearm.
You know what a flurgle is, though you may not know that's the name for it. A flurgle is best applied to the warm tickly flesh of someone you love, preferably by surprise. You accomplish it by placing your lips firmly against, say, a belly, and then blowing really hard, producing a flubba-flubba sound. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait right here.
Pretty nifty, huh? The juvenile-minded among my readers might note that the sound is much like what one is able to produce with another orifice of the body, after eating a can of pork and beans with a side of cabbage salad.
That's right, my seven month-old son has discovered how to make fart noises. The boy's a prodigy.
This fascinates him to no end. If you pick him up, he starts pecking at your shoulders like a chicken. He tries to blow but mostly he just drools. If you hold him long enough, your shirt is left with a trail of slobber marks tinged by whatever godawful vegetable his mother has inflicted on him (her philosophy is that you give them the really icky foods when they don't know any better: yams, avocado, brown rice -- all the stuff Adam and Eve found waiting for them after they got kicked out of the Garden). Occasionally he connects and gets a little sound, which leads him to squeal with delight.
Bored with life? Have children. Just be sure to get plenty of sleep first.