The girls and I went on one of the last long walks of the year last week. We hurried along in front of the winds that the were waiting to blow and the cold that was ready to chill. We put our toes in the grass and passed flowers from nose to nose to nose. Viola sang and jabbered and scaled rocks that seemed like mountains to a little girl in a big world. Zuzu held back and watched her little sister throw herself into the scenery.
"Mom, Viola is fun crazy, huh?"
"Yeah, she is fun crazy. You know, I think she just knows there are lots of things to do in this life. She runs around like that so she can squeeze as many of them in as she can."
"Mom? When will I get married? Isn't it time? That is one of the things I want to do."
And here I stopped, took my eyes from my daredevil and moved them to my creator of questions and then back again to the acro-baby.
"Oh, well. There is no supposed to time when it comes to marriage. I can tell you, you've got lots and lots of years and so many things to do before that. You need to explore and travel. You need to learn to take care of yourself and find out what you love to do! You need to be able to be happy on your own before you are happy with someone else. You need to play a lot and work even more! And you can go on a mission if you want! Or study in China! Or even go to cooking school in New York!" And then I knelt down, brushed the hair out of her eyes and continued the conversation I knew she was already losing interest in, "Listen, sweetheart. Marriage is good. There are going to be people that try to tell you it isn't important or necessary. I love being married. So if in the years from now, when you are much older, you find someone you love, someone who will make you happy, someone who knows who you are, someone who makes you want to be better for yourself - not just for him, if you find someone like that before you have traveled the world or achieved a dream, that is alright, too. Marriage, when it is done right, makes the person you are supposed to become a reality. The thing is, that sometimes the really good things in this life just come to us when we are doing what is best for us. Be happy. Make others around you happy. Live passionately. Work well. Listen to God. Focus on the components of the moment you are in, rather than worrying about the moments and events that are still to come. Everything will follow if you just live well."
She was quiet and, not for the first time, I cursed myself for my lack of preschool age communication skills.
"Ummmmm. Does that answer your question?"
She looked at me very seriously for a minute and then nodded her head just once.
"Mom. Maybe I will focus on kindergarten first."
I laughed with joy at her answer and pulled her in so close and held on so tight to that moment we shared and then lost to the next one and the next and the next.