The Stars of the Show

"It's called 'The Mystery of the Cowboy Clone Trooper's Secret Notebook'," he announces. "And also, there's a football witch in it."

"Dani!" he shouts. "Hurry! We're starting the show!"

I sit atop the bed, criss-cross-applesauce, my heels digging into the airplane quilt I brought home from the outlet more than six years ago, back when my claim to motherhood rested shakily on possessing a packed hospital bag and two drawers of pre-washed onsies and sleepers.

What happened to his sweet baby head, the one I kissed and smelled every thirty seconds (surely this is the twitch of the new mother)? It hides under the clone trooper mask, smelling not of babies but of sweat and leaves and yesterday's shampoo.
The play is what you might call character-driven. The pacing is a bit off, what with the lead character writing in his secret notebook for a solid five minutes. The football witch jumps in to make a scene, but is promptly shushed and demoted to stage duty. "Turn the lights off!" the cowboy instructs.

But the witch is unfazed, enthralled now with her own hat, turning it this way and that, on and off her head, circling her hands over the rim as if she expects a rabbit might hop out. She's always had powers, this girl, to do magical things. Like, for instance, the time she melted her cranky mother into a pile of mush, erasing the sleepless crying night of hours just past with the curl of her first smile.

After another five minutes of notebook scribbling, the cowboy clone trooper declares it time to fight in the dark with his light saber. The football witch picks up her football, squeals, "I am the PRINCESS OF THE FOOTBALL!"

I can see the cowboy would kick her entirely out of the theater if he thought he could get away with it. Instead he looks at me, the lights still bright enough that I can see his eyes roll in the direction of his co-star.

I clap furiously. "That was wonderful!" I say.

"But Mom!" he interjects. "There are like 39 more minutes left of the show!"

I cringe and declare it intermission. "Until tomorrow," I promise.

If ever I let myself get lost, it is in this magic show where babies grow into boy and girl, telling the stories of which I'll never tire. The one where a first spoken word morphs seemingly overnight into a first full-blown theatrical production. Or the one where the baby girl exchanges booties for light up boots 10 times as big, the shoes she insists on wearing while she helps me fold the laundry. (She loves to fold laundry? Yes, she does!)

I wish often for intermission, a chance to digest the wonder of what I've just watched. But the show goes on and on, stopping for no one. Not even their mother...

What do you call this growing, if not magical? How do you describe it apart from miraculous?
I sit spell-bound, watching, wondering how on earth my babies disappeared, how on earth they grew like magic into the stars of this show.


Sharing this wonder, these gifts, with Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped.

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