It’s been an emotional day.
Today marks a year since Papa Joe died. I planned to visit his grave in the morning and asked if Madison wanted to write him a note. She did. Madison picked up a pink marker, then paused. “Wait, what is Papa Joe’s favorite color?” she asked. I didn’t correct the present tense verb. “Blue,” I said. “He always loved blue.” Madison swapped out the pink marker for a blue one, wrote him a short note, and drew him a picture.
“Can Papa Joe still hear me?” Madison asked on our way to the cemetery. This was just one of many questions Madison had that she did not have a year ago. Answering her questions without being patronizing or too blunt was more difficult than answering questions in class.
She read her note, then placed flowers at his grave. She wanted to know if he was underground. She was extremely concerned that Papa Joe might not hear her. I assured her that he could. “I miss Papa Joe,” she said as we walked back to the car. “Why?” I said. “He was always very nice to me,” she said. He was.
After opening our day in such a solemn way, we headed over to the new playground at Kipapa Park. Madison had been there once with Lynnette, but this was my first time. It’s a great playground. Lots of space for running around and a lot of activities built in to the structure. There are ladders, cargo nets, rock climbing sections, spinners, but curiously, not a single slide. Madison really likes the variety and she’s getting braver about trying new things. She still doesn’t trust herself in trying to extend from one platform or step to another if she has to transition with hands and feet (did that make any sense at all?), but other than that, she’s flying all over the place. I’m glad that such an innovative play set is located so close to our home, and so is Madison. “Are you ready to go?” I asked. She stopped running just long enough to look at me with a furrowed brow and shake her head in a manner that suggested I had just asked a stupid question. Fair enough.
We began our day remembering a loss, but ended it with a return of sorts. I don’t remember when, but Madison lost Pink Honey at Windward Mall some time ago. It happened so long ago that we’ve stopped using the color as an adjective; the only two Honeys Madison had left were blue Honeys, so it didn’t matter.
From time to time, I’d scour the internet looking for a Pink Honey. I thought I found it on a website last year, called them to make sure it was the one actually pictured, then was pissed (but not surprised) to discover it wasn’t the correct Honey (even the color was wrong.
I found this Pink Honey on eBay. Before I bought it, though, I wanted to clear it with Madison. She can be iffy on these kinds of things. “If I could buy another Pink Honey, is that something you would like?” I asked her. “Can I see her?” she asked. I showed her the auction page. “Where is she?” she asked. “I have to buy her,” I said. “Okay,” Mad said. Lynnette’s been promoting this narrative about how Pink Honey’s been on vacation. Even tonight when she arrived in the mail, Lynnette spoke of Disney Land or some place comparable. But Madison kept asking me. So I told her the truth: someone in Missouri had a Pink Honey and I told him that I knew someone that would really like a Pink Honey so I bought it from him.
She didn’t seem comfortable. “Read this letter,” she told me, holding the receipt that came with Pink Honey. I pointed to my name (she recognizes that) and I pointed to the seller’s name. I read the part about “thanks for your purchase” and such, but embellished a little at the end. “I hope you like your new Pink Honey and that you give her a good home.” She paused. “Are you happy?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said. I thought that Madison would be thrilled, but what happened was even more exciting. She didn’t understand the details of the transaction, but she knew she didn’t understand them. More importantly, she desperately wanted to. She amazes me every day.