At this point in my life I feel like I’m surrounded by children; children of my own, children I teach and then children I hang out with, those would be my nieces, nephews and friends’ kids, of course. But the most amusing two children that I look forward to spending time with are the ones on my everyday commute. The cause of amusement is their intriguing conversations and delightful games to which I’m nothing but a mute observer, a silent listener. I learn so much from them every day. I have reason to believe, from what I picked up from their innumerable discussions, ranging anywhere and everywhere from the weather that odd Wednesday to how one of them is in charge of making sure the other’s earrings are never lost to if the new building constructed on Washington avenue is going to be a toy store or a beauty parlor, that they may be best friends or what they call it today, BFFs.
Recently, I got to experience how creative and funny these six-year-olds could be. Our car was stuck in traffic for about 15 minutes when I saw one of them point to the nearest palm tree and exclaim, “How I wish I could be, Up on top of that tree!” The other immediately picked up this cue with “And how silly it would be When you fall down and hurt your knee.” This continued for a while and neither dropped the rhyme or the theme.
Being a teacher I have observed many times how something starts off creative but, in a matter of seconds, silliness sets in and giggles erupt or words are uttered that make no sense. But these two ladies, while they kept working on their little number, choosing their adjectives carefully so as to not let the rhyme drop, stayed the course. Paired with their limitless imagination was their creative vocabulary to describe what they associated with the art of climbing trees and the risk of getting hurt with a lot of emphasis on how fun it was, indeed, to climb a tall tree and see the view from up there. They turned the language upside down, inside out, and played with words showcasing their love of it and their desire to express their thoughts poetically. They made a great team, a family of two. How I wish I had written it down, verse by verse, to capture the lyrical simplicity of these budding poets to share it with the world.
I’m forever grateful for the innocent and endearing laughter that these two children bring to my life, reminding me of the bygone years of how you could take an utterly ordinary subject–stuck in traffic on a Tuesday, a bothersome sibling, the bubble that a raindrop makes on the surface of our swimming pool—and turn it into something extraordinary.
A dreamy, almost heart breaking, nostalgia rose up inside of me as I was given a glimpse of life before there was any complexity, when confusion was an emotion that made you laugh, when happiness was putting on a raincoat and rubber boots and stomping out in the rain.
Now, as I watch them hop off to school in their brightly colored dresses carrying their pink and blue school bags I feel so refreshed and motivated. I dedicate this writing to my favorite ladies—Ms. Spot Splatter Splash and Ms. Bea Spells-a-lot for inspiring me to remember to bring the magic out of the mundane.
Saraswathy Lakshmivaraham is a mother of two, an art enthusiast and lives in Fremont, CA. She loves to read, cook and travel with her family.