May 9, 201208:00 AMMinivan Diaries
“But What About My Pyramid?”
My son cuddles next to me in bed with a book. He looks up to ask what I am reading.
“It’s called Blue Nights,” I tell him.
“Blue Nights? What’s that?” he asks.
“It’s the time in the evening when the sun is going down and the light almost seems blue. You know, the time we always like to go back down to the beach in the summer.”
He ponders this. “That sounds boring. Is it just about evenings?”
I hesitate, and then say, “No, it’s about the death of the author’s daughter.”
His eyes widen. He whispers, “How old was her daughter?”
“She was 39.”
“Oh,” he shrugs, no longer concerned. To a small boy, 39 is ancient.
“Is it a good book?” he asks.
“Yes,” I tell him. “It’s beautifully written.”
He considers this. I can see it doesn’t sound very appealing. No wizards?
Then he asks “Will you write a book about me? When I die?”
“Well,” I respond, “I’m planning on dying before you.”
He accepts this, at once both relieved and disappointed. No book.
“I will love you to the grave,” he announces.
I thank him, wondering if he means my grave, or his own. I kind of think he means mine, which strikes me as a love that’s somewhat finite.
I decide to tease him a little. “When you were seven, you told me you’d build a pyramid for me after I die,” I remind him.
I confess the image of my putative pyramid has occurred to me more than once over the years, during the sleepless nights, the carpool schlepping, and the innumerable dinners. I’ve begun to warm to the idea.
“I’ll still build it,” he promises.
We become lost in companionable contemplation of my hopefully far-off memorial. Personally, I think Chevy Chase Circle might be a nice spot for it.
“Actually, Mommy, I can’t do it,” he suddenly remarks. “Building a pyramid takes slave labor and that’s against my morals.”
Telling him not to let a little thing like anti-slavery scruples get in the way of my pyramid seems. . . um. . . wrong, so I just say, “Oh well. That’s true. I understand.”
A few minutes go by. We each keep reading.
“I’ll build it by myself,” he suddenly avers.
I smile at him. “That would be lovely,” I say.
“It might have to be out of Legos,” he backpedals.
My memorial seems to be shrinking in grandeur. I picture it, sitting on a bookshelf, next to some dusty Rick Riordan novels and a pile of discarded DS games.
Call me Ozymandias.
“Hmm,” I say. “Legos?”
I think of my heroics during our recent bout with stomach flu.
“What about a glass pyramid like the one at the Louvre?”
He looks at me witheringly. “I think that would be a bit much,” he says.
Huh? The pharaohs are one thing; I.M. Pei is overboard?
“How about I settle for your keeping memories of me in your heart,” I tell him.
“That would be a lot easier,” he says.
“Ok,” I say. “You’re off the hook on the pyramid.”
“Ok,” he says. “Can we go back to reading now?”
“Of course,” I say.
He leans his head on my arm, and we return to our books.