"Can you tell us another one, Mommy?"
"Ok, but this is the last one..."
I choose my very first memory. I am walking down a sidewalk, making letters of the splits in the hot concrete. Every other square brings a surprise dried-up curl that was once an earthworm. I can smell lawns being mowed. Something is glistening near the grass. A gold rock, a gray rock, and one in between. Making a cradle for them inside my shirt, I get these finds home to pour over. Seeing how highly they are revered, Mom brings over a small white jewelry box with protective stuffing inside. With curator's hands, I nestle my treasures in that box, close the lid, and open it every few minutes to stare.
"I bet they are beautiful," Abby whispers.
"Rocks." Grayson's eyebrows are low and flat. "Um. Can you tell us the one when Uncle Eric almost killed you because you forgot to change his turtle cage and the turtle ate all the fish? You know, the one where Boompa was like, "There's been a masssaaaccccrrrreeee!"
"Was one of the rocks sparkly, Mommy?" Abby isn't ready to move on. Her eyes are looking past mine and she's smiling for the first time today.
"Yes, as I recall. And even a little bit gold."
"You mean, rainbow? Was it sparkly and rainbow?"
Even though my girl defies parental wishes in thirty minute increments, uses only her most operatic bellows 98% of the time, and charges through the house like a tiny pirate, at this second I see her through the eyes of an admirer, not only a responsible mom. I recognize a fellow artist. The way her mind sees without trying. The way her heart accepts without questioning. The way her imagination adds color automatically inspires me to remember. Something in me stirs after a long hibernation...
"Yes, Honey. Now that you mention it. One was definitely rainbow."