I dog-eared the page. Recently she asked me, "Mom, why are all the history books about war?"
And I hmphed at her observation.
"What's one word you would use to sum up this chapter?" I asked my Great Books students.
"Brotherhood," someone offered. I wrote it down.
"Baby lump," someone else laughed. I wrote it down.
"War," I said, and added it to the mix. I posed Erin's question to the high schoolers on Monday as we finished up a chapter of war, war, war in Ancients.
"Because that's the only way things get done," a meek one offered.
"What was it like when the world was peaceful, Cuffy?"
"Ah," said Cuffy, coming up again. "It seemed like a lovely world; anyway on top where it showed. But it didn't last long." The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright.
We settled into last pages. I felt lost in the ocean with Mona as she swam; felt the waters when she realized how one day she would be a grown up ... that "going on fourteen was pretty old after all." And when she swam fast, churning and reaching, until the knowledge was left behind, I swam faster.
Did she know how these words pierced a mama's heart, this little one cuddled against me? Did she know that any moment, I could cry?
A lighthouse. It sat on a coffee table at piano, and I took a picture of it. It made me think of the Melendys at Mrs. Oliphant's lighthouse home that salty, sweltering summer long ago in the pages of The Saturdays.
|"Let our home be a lighthouse to our neighbors, our nation, our world."|
And when I turned to what was the last of the pages and could see the emptiness beyond the last period, I felt as I often do when a story is over--and I read slower and softer so the words lingered in my ears.
Those kids staring up at a summer moon, reimagining the events both good and bad that brought them where they were. I nod and know.
The last of the sentences, spoiler alert, and she welcomes the thought that summer means every day is Saturday, and yawns wide with peace and happiness.
"What a terrible ending," Erin said. "I hate when a book ends like that and you don't know what happens. Who would ever end a book with a yawn?"
But I nod and know ... of summer stretched out, and field fragrances, and the splash-splash-splash of blue, and picnics with red and white checkered blankets spread out beneath the feathery ferny leaves of a walnut tree.