The innocence of children is often reflected in their perception of language. My twelve year old rarely says things that mirror innocence anymore, and now that his quick wit has developed, I find myself chuckling with him, then secretly at him. My eight year old is still in this literal; child like stage and it is sweet and refreshing to be around. It is the mark of a child that only lasts about a decade and then it slowly fades. I started pondering this truth after my mom shared a story that occurred when she was spending time with my boys.
My mother has hired my two boys this summer to complete odd jobs around her house. Clipping roses, gardening chores, cleaning out the garage and going up into the attic to unload seasonal boxes were a couple of their employment opportunities. Everyone was winner with this set up…the boys earned some cash, I received a break from my little darlings and my mother received assistance in places it was truly needed.
Eight year old Daniel was helping my mom unload boxes that were hard to get to. Being that he is small enough to get into the dusty attic crawlspace, it was the perfect job for him. While up there, my mother pointed out the basinet that I slept in forty years ago. When mom was telling me this story, I wondered why she has saved it all these decades. Sentimental value, I assumed. Then she mentioned my younger sister might want to use it should she have a baby. I could only imagine the dust and lead paint on this dinosaur crib; it had to be recalled at one point in the last forty years. As usual, my mother’s heart was in the right grandma place, but I gently told her that I did not think my sister would want it. She told me I was a downer.
So, there the white rattan basinet was covered in plastic, a little piece of my baby hood aging in the corner like an elderly person in a convalescent home. My mother pointed it out to Daniel explaining, “That is the basinet your mother used to sleep in when she was a baby.”
Daniel paused, and then replied with concern, “My mother slept in the attic?”
Sweet. Literal. Innocent, Daniel.