“Just tell me… are you going to do it?” He asks her, “Tell me right now. Just tell me right now, Diana.”
Diana, dressed prim in her lavender princess dress, hairspray clutching her curls into perfect spirals from the 7a.m. hair appointment, looks away from him and keeps staring into the mud below the magnifying glass. Looking for the inchworm.
“Tell me now, are you going to break my heart? Tell me. Will you break my heart?” Bryan puts his hands on this hips; the bumblebee finger puppets still saddling the tips of his fingers.
Welcome to the conversations that plop from the mouths of four-year-olds when you dress the herd of Bieber Fever Babies “to the nines” in spring attire to take a single photo with the Easter Bunny.
Suddenly, suddenly, they are snorting a thick smog of romance from the air and carrying on “grown up” conversations in the science area. Forgetting their soap opera rhetoric from time to time to stare at the inchworm below the magnifying glass.
And don’t look now Diana, but Josue is buttering up Katelynn in the corner of the block area. Telling her he likes her Sunday dress better than yours and would like to dance with her during exercise time.
In a 2-day span, Josue can date Diana. Break up. Hold hands with Katelynn a few times. Katelynn will then get tired of Josue, move on to his best friend, Joel. Joel will pine over Katelynn, then move onto Jamell. All the while, Isis and Madisson will be fighting over a clearly disinterested Josue.
And then next year they will all move up in the world, split into separate kindergarten classes and forget one another.
Not to put a grim spin on it all.
But they are four.
They forget what cereal they had for breakfast. They forget what month it is. They will forget one another. They will forget they ever had a “Miss Hannah” for a preschool teacher who was a pro at doodling princesses onto papers they clutched up until nap time.
I’ll forever be a pre-Facebook, pre-mobile phone, pre-email, preschool teacher to these children. Give these kids a few popsicles, a summer vacation, and a new teacher and I will be as good as gone in their pint-sized memories. I am no match against Disney World or birthday parties at the hair salon.
And so what is a girl to do when she knows she will be forgotten?
Well it leaves me learning a good, hard lesson in the reason behind being alive right now.
It leaves me learning that my name will never matter, nor will my face. And that my only job, Right Here, Right Now, is to plant this “Break Your Heart From Being So Full” Kind of Love that I have in my possession all over the place. Plant it until it hurts. Plant it long after it breaks my heart a dozen more times.
Setting my heart on mastering this whole “loving until it hurts” thing suddenly makes it much clearer to see what to do with this Very Little Time and Very Tiny Space.
Love, though it involves risks and the art of “forgetting,” is all I can imagine I would want these kids to take away from me. Long before they remember the color of my hair or the flowers on my dress.
Remember how special I think you are, I want to tell them. Remember that you are limitless, I want them to know. That you shouldn’t be fearless but don’t let those fears dictate your choices. That you may never remember a girl whose hair magically turned from curly to straight from one day to the next but remember her love. Her Morphing Love.
This is all your Little Bones need. A Love that morphs into Ambition. Imagination. Creativity. To Grow Them Strong.
A Love that will leave you seizing days and dreams with both hands long after I have stopped holding them.
It is rainy days like these, where the Easter Bunny is in town and the Sunday “Tacos” have come out to click clack on the floors during circle time, that I want to tell every single one of them to forget me before nap time, so long as they remember all that I want for them when it comes time to dream.