Moments with a child make life simple again, the good sort of simple, at least for a bit. And they remind us that brilliance really is in the eye of the beholder. I often go back to a moment with Emerson in the spring:
I held up my painting of a pink butterfly.
“Can you say it, Emerson? Can you say ‘butterfly?”
She grinned from her high chair. A grin that took over her face. Then her expression grew serious. She studied the painting as if she were going into deep recall.
Then out came a jumble of consonants and maybe a vowel or two.
“You said it, Emmie! You said ‘butterfly.”’
In that moment, I saw brilliance.
The brilliance of butterflies and line and paint and color.
The brilliance of a baby girl.
And the brilliance of language, even if only a grandmother can understand it.
Grandma update on Emerson: Emerson learned to say “butterfly” in April. My favorite new expression is “golf ball.” She had a good time last month bouncing one off the beach house deck into the shrubbery below. She’d come find me and announce, “Golf ball!” clear as a bell. I was then in charge of finding the ball, not an easy task.