the tower

This week’s story is based on the following lyrics from Kiss From a Rose by Seal:

“There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea.  You became the light on the dark side of me.” 

……

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“Why do you always look so sad when you look out at the ocean?”

“I’m not sad.”

She smiled kindly and put a hand on his shoulder.  “I didn’t say you were sad, darling.  But, you do look sad when you stare into the distance like you were just doing.”

The corner of his mouth twitched.  He knew what she was talking about but it was going to be hard to put it into words.  He knew, too, that she wouldn’t rush him.  She was patient like that.  It was part of why he loved her, part of why he was comfortable enough around her to let his emotions walk in the past.  His eyes settled on a point just shy of the horizon and his thoughts dipped back into the years between his youth and his adulthood.  Magic years.  Haunting years.

“Have I ever told you the story of the lighthouse?”

“Is this a literal lighthouse?”

His lips twitched again, more than they had before, and the small smile betrayed his truth.  “No, not a literal lighthouse.  It’s a story, a parable or some such thing.”

“Then, no, I don’t think you’ve told me this story.”

Silence, as quiet as the beach ever was, settled around them.  The waves, gentle long rollers, washed in and dragged out, over and over.  A few pelicans gave up fishing for the moment and settled on the surface just beyond the breakers.  The breeze that sometimes roared off the water was little more than a whisper.

“Will you tell me?”

He put his hand on hers, still resting on his shoulder, and nodded.

A moment later he began, “The lighthouse stood on an island far out to sea, it was a beacon of both hope and doom.  To see its light meant were near land, but that land could be your salvation or your death, right?”

She said, “Yes, that makes sense.”

He continued, “We have many lighthouses in our lives.  People.  Memories.  They stand in the vast ocean of our minds and flash their lights at us.  You have to draw near to see the threat, to understand why the lighthouse is there, but if you get too close you will be dashed upon the cliffs, or the reef, or whatever.”

“And you see these, these ‘lighthouses,’ while you are gazing toward the horizon?” She asked.

He squeezed her hand, and answered simply, “Yes.”

“That is sad,” she murmured.

He squeezed her hand again and said, “It’s okay though.  You see, I don’t need the lighthouses anymore.  You’ve always got my back.  You are always helping light my way forward.”

And then the Littlest Prince was two

Dear Littlest Prince,

You are two.  Such an amazing age.  Such an amazing time to be a toddler tornado.  You’re a force to be reckoned with your big laughs, big cries, big mischief, big everything, while still in a little package.  Don’t worry, though, it’ll all even out in the end.  Every day you’re learning and growing.  Soon, sooner than we’ll be ready for, you’ll be adventuring through this life like your two big brothers.  They certainly are doing a great job setting the example for you to follow.

You are two.  It seems like too small number.  It can’t really do justice to the amount of growth and life and adventure you’ve already lived.  How has it only been two years?  Then again, how has it already been two years.  Didn’t you just arrive last week?  Weren’t you just a newborn the other day?  Wasn’t your first birthday yesterday?

You are two.  And the last year saw so many firsts for you.  Your first trip to mammoth and your first time playing in snow.  Your first plane ride, followed quickly by your first night in a hotel, unplanned even as our flights got messed up and we found ourselves stranded in Chicago for a few hours.  Your first trip to Kings Canyon, a place that holds almost magical importance to our family.  The kingdom is our fictional and literal home.  Kings, for a lot of us, is our heart’s home.  The mountains may call to us, but that canyon and that river scream at us in thundering echoes, demanding our attention.  You have no idea what I’m talking about, but you will.

You are two.  And I’m so excited for all the adventures you still have ahead of you.  I know they won’t all be easy but the Queen and I and your two big brothers are always doing our best to help guide you along.  Well, almost always.  I mean, your big brothers adore you of course but they might occasionally work against you.  Brothers.  So it goes in this kingdom, this circus, this whatever this family is from day to day. 

You are two.  You are loved.  That’s what it comes down to.

May you have a wonderful year.

Love you littlest one.

Love,

Daddy/The Jester/Matticus

on being nine

My dear Little Prince,

How?  How are you nine already?  That boggles my mind.  You’ve been part of our lives for going on a decade now… 

And what an adventure those years have been.  Travelling.  Learning.  Exploring. 

From figuring out all the wheeled objects, all of them, to snowboarding and surfing.  From your love of reading, often staying up later than me to just finish that one more chapter, to the speed with which you pick up new math topics.  And your love of art.  And your creativity and imagination. 

You wrote a book and gave it out as Christmas presents this past year.  At 8 years old.  I mean…  How very cool is that?

Plus, you’ve written and drawn how many comic books now?  The number keeps growing. 

This year you have just absolutely exploded with talent at all the things you attempt.  All while still being great with your two little brothers.  And getting your braces off.  And continuing to be good with your glasses.  And.  And.  And.

Really, you are a wonder.

Which just leaves me in constant awe and wondering…  What will you do next? 

I know, I know… I’m too hard on you at times.  I expect great things from you and I push you towards that, often forgetting that you are still so young.  You just act so much older than you are most of the time.  So, I’m sorry, as I tell you often, that I can be so demanding.  I’m working on it.  Just as you are working on growing and learning, and learning and growing, and here’s a little secret for you…  that never stops.  You will always be learning and growing, or you’ll be doing something wrong.

I’m not worried about that, though.  Your curiosity is insatiable.  You move from one topic to the next, following the answers of your initial questions down rabbit holes of information until you understand something, and then you move on to the next.

All these stepping stones on your way to changing the world.  You’re on your way, that’s for sure.  And you’ll get there in the end, of that I have no doubt.

Can’t wait to see what the next year brings, and then the decade after that.

Love you, kiddo.

Love,

Daddy / Matticus / The Jester

on being eighteen months

My dear Littlest Prince,

How is it possible that you are eighteen months already?  And, how it is possible you are only eighteen months. 

Oh, you are just such a joy of a toddler tornado right now.  So inquisitive.  So determined to keep up with your two big brothers.  And so amazingly good at making messes faster than we can clean them up.  You dismantle a room faster than your brothers ever did, and that’s saying something.

You’ve really taken to riding your little balance bike recently.  That’s so much fun to watch you scoot along and then lift your legs and coast…  We are an active family, so it’s good you like being outside too.  Like?  Love.  You love being outside.  Often taking your shoes out of the cupboard and bringing them to us to put on, while you are still in your pajamas, and we are still eating our breakfast.  And then you throw them at us when we don’t move fast enough.  Outside.  It’s where you want to be.  I don’t blame you.

So amazing watching you grow.  You’re learning things every day.  You’re getting stronger, faster, more coordinated, and smarter every day.  And your silly little expressions.  And your goofball nature.  I’m going to miss that when you find your words and use those more and more to get what you want instead.  Though, it’s going to be fun to talk to you too and have you reply with what’s going on in that head of yours. 

You are getting ready to transition out of your  baby chair.  You are demanding more and more to have the same food that everyone else at the table has.  You are constantly studying the swirling chaos of people and cats around you and sizing it all up, figuring out where you fit in, what’s expected, and what’s acceptable.  All while dealing with more new teeth, and changing nap schedules, and big brothers that don’t always want to share what they are playing with, and parents who can’t always drop everything they are doing to help you in that moment, and, and and…  Life is so very confusing, I know.  It’s fun, too, though.  And full of adventures.

There are so many amazing adventures ahead of you. 

Can’t wait to see you tackle them all. 

I love you.

Love,

Daddy / Matticus / The Jester

stirring

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She checked her ingredients were all at hand one more time and then carefully began building the dish.  It was his favorite.  She hadn’t known that the first time she’d cooked it for him.  She hadn’t bothered with a recipe that time.  Cooking had always come naturally to her.  She liked tinkering and seeing how flavors came together.  The problem with that being she could never quite recreate the same meal.  Nothing ever turned out exactly the same twice. 

For the current meal, though, she needed the recipe.  Well, she needed part of it, anyway.  The food part she had down.  The spell part was what she needed help with and kept checking over and over to make sure she got it right.

She hummed a little tune while she stirred and blended in the ingredients, checking the temperature, checking the spell, stirring, stirring.  This meal had to be perfect.  It was time.  It was time for him to be fully hers.

Glancing at the clock she saw she still had plenty of time to bring it all together.  She kept stirring.  Kept double checking the lists and the steps.  Kept humming that little tune.

Then the final ingredient went in.  It disappeared instantly in the cheesy sauce, swirling among the noodles, carrots, potatoes.  The smell of it was divine.  It wasn’t the same as it’d been the first time she’d cooked for him.  It wasn’t supposed to be.  This was something more, something better, something magical.

She smiled a little mischievous smile.

“As they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”