Sunday, May 31, 2015



It's Ella's word, her version of the word sparkly. 

Ella is 3, and farkly is just always how she's said it.
And don't you dare correct her.

"Oh, I love these farkly stickers!"
"My dress has farkles on it!"
"I want some of your farkling water, Mama!" 
(Yes, she's a sophisticated wee preschooler and Perrier--farkling water--is her drink of choice.)

A couple weeks ago we were enjoying a short, one day visit with our family in New York, and Ella and I were upstairs in one of the bedrooms getting ready for a family party. She asked me to paint her nails, so we sat cross legged on the bedroom floor together and, facing each other, looked through the various colors.

"I want this one," she decided, picking up the small bottle of red, sparkly polish. "I want the sparkly one."


The word was clear. Perfectly pronounced. Articulate and mature.

I felt a soft wave of sadness. "What did you call it, Ella?" Looking at me she said it again. "I want the sparkly one."

I smiled and said, "You know, Ella, as long as you've been talking you've always said sparkly like this: farkly. It was so cute. It always made me smile."

With thoughtful eyes, Ella took this in. "Well," she said with a casual shrug, "now I say sparkly."

Now she says sparkly. 

And this is good. 

But as I sat on the floor that afternoon and looked at my baby girl with her soft curls and chubby cheeks, it was also a well-timed reminder: no matter what age or stage a child is at, they grow and time passes. 

Farkly changes to sparkly, and we never get to go back and hear that word again.

It's not sad nor is it a threat that the future won't hold equal or even greater joy than we know now. 

It's just that sometimes we needs those sweet, sparkly reminders that time is passing, children are growing, and the joys and challenges alike are a gift... because by tomorrow, they might already be only a memory.

Today I stand in my kitchen chopping parsley. I'm listening and quietly singing along to Simon and Garfunkel as I cook; these songs are the soundtrack of my childhood, and so I'm already nostalgic. Their words, their poetry, capture the brevity of life. 

I threw a pebble in a brook 
And watched the ripples run away 
And they never made a sound 
And the leaves that are green turn to brown 
And they wither with the wind 
And they crumble in your hand 
Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello 
Good-bye,Good-bye, Good-bye, Good-bye 
That’s all there is 
And the leaves that are green turn to brown

And so for today -- because it might only be for today -- I will delight as I hear Ella call flip flops slip slops, and makeup nakeup, and all those other momentarily mispronounced words that make me smile.

Because one afternoon I'll be sitting on the floor picking out nail polish with my daughter, and I'll realize she's all grown up.