Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ketchup, Apple and Mickey Mouse

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the tip of Lydia's ear. It looked like it had been skinned as I look closer her hair was matted down with blood. In that split second Lydia's last 15 minutes flashed before me and my stomach propelled out of my body and into an unseen pit of panic, instantly I remembered, Lydia likes ketchup. It has become evident that Lydia likes ketchup. She will lick it off a french fry or nugget and leave the ketchup holder on her plate. Just a little earlier I was trying to entice her to eat meat since she is seemingly too young to make choices on behalf of animal rights or diet, I am encouraging her to consume any protein. This time it was in the form of an Applegate organic nugget. I had squirted ketchup on her plate and as previously mentioned she ate the ketchup (more like splattered the ketchup) and left the meat. The skinned ear was a thin layer of Heinz and the matted hair was perhaps more of a future punk rock revolt with ketchup. In a period of a millisecond all of these things things flash and the result was tears. My face simply sweetly released what my head had processed, it was not a broken headed toddler before me but a messy one.

Everyday there is a new thing. It is such a fun time in human development. Everything is amazing. You can ask her what sound a dog, snake or lion makes and she will appropriately bark, hiss or roar. She can come when you ask her, grab something you ask her to grab, and take things from place to place on command. Lydia can say many words: Mama (me), Dada(eliot), Papa (grandpa), Tata (grandma), bye-bye, agua, and donde esta.  The other night she amazed us with her ability to say: apple.

Over the long weekend we went to the Magic Kingdom. We had eagerly been waiting to take Lydia and the Abuelos to see the happiest place on earth. While it was certainly the wettest place on earth, I couldn't help but think of the last time I had gone. It was about 8 years ago, perhaps in a slightly more introspective time in life. I remember thinking the magic had been sucked out of the kingdom. That everything looked used. Eight years later with two healthy parents, a loving husband and a blessing of a daughter, I walked off the monorail into a true land of joy. The childlike amazement of Disney World had returned. Every detail from decorated pumpkin Mickeys' to the glimmering Cinderella castle reminded me of so many treasured memories of family vacations and the joy that my own mother always has had for the world that Disney created. There was nothing more magical or heartfelt than watching Lydia laugh at the Country Bear Jamboree, smack Donald Duck on the bill and attempt to consume every iota of  "It's a Small World."

At the risk of being overly sentimental my mom loves "It's a Small World" I think because for her it was a symbol of even though she had left her own mother behind in her country that the world  was small and her mom not too far. It also conjures up the idea  that people at heart were good, and that someday there would be a magical world where everyone could be together. My mom shed a tear watching Lydia and thinking back to her first ride with me on that very ferry boat 35 years ago. In that tender moment, I saw in front of us a Muslim mother with a hijab riding with her own daughter who was about 4 years old. As the ferry turned into the middle eastern part of the world with little girls dancing with head coverings, I shed a tear.  I thought about how that little girl has such few images in popular culture of joyful Muslim women. It was in that very moment, that it really was "a small world" and that as a collective we could share in a world of laughter and a world of cheer with our daughters together. Nothing else mattered.

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