Rose and I are out doing errands, bustling in and out of the car with lists and bags, my mind clamped on things to remember like mantras that could derail my life if I lose the thread.
Meanwhile, Rose is sharing every thought particle that touches down in her brain. Right now, she’s telling me that she really wishes the word pecans was spelled peeCONS, because that’s how she likes to say it. I am wondering if I need three more cups of coffee or three more hours of meditation.
Spending time with Rose is a bit like taking part in an extreme sport, requiring that you shake loose any miscellanea rattling around your mind. She will scour your mental arena of flotsam with the scrub brush of her questions. She forces you to relinquish your trivial musings, like “next career move,” because there are always more pressing matters, such as, “Mama, is that a hair growing out of your mole?”
Rose awakes with her mind jammed with questions. She slides an empty tray under the door of my consciousness, expecting it returned brimming with answers. “What are we doing today? What’s for breakfast? Did Col already come snuggle you?” Before I can answer, the yarn of her inquiries fully unravels, lassoing my brain to hers.
“It’s wonderful that she’s so curious,” my mom says in that magnanimous, slightly removed way of grandparents who aren’t awoken at 6 a.m. with questions unspooling into the darkness of morning.
And it is wonderful, even if it’s like mental athletics, watching my own thoughts bloom and get knocked off course by the next flurry of questions. She regularly busts me furiously scribbling her own quotes in my notebook (like this one: “I want to help so much more when I’m feeling happy”), trying to capture her trying to understand her own complex, beautiful world. I recognize the tiniest bit of irony in this frenzy to record The Now while it’s being served, warm and fresh from the daughter right in front of me.
“Do you think they’re married?” Rose wonders about two ladies walking together. “They have the same hairstyle,” she says by way of explanation. I am considering a response while Rose has already turned the page of her mind. “I can’t decide if I want to get both ears double-pierced or just one.”
“What do our chickens think of spring?” Rose wonders.
“Probably pretty thrilled.”
“What do you think when you hear nails on the chalkboard? When I hear it, it makes my bones shiver.”
“I like that image – of bones shivering.”
“What do you think Nana’s doing right now?”
“Reading the paper and eating oat groats in a very quiet house.”
“You think our house is too noisy!”
On the way to a party, I tell her I’ve never been to the house and I know nothing more than the address. Absolutely nothing.
“Will the party be outside?”
For Rose, questions are her passport to this world. Information is a like a wide, swirling storm; if you don’t stand outside with your mouth open in receiving mode, you’re sure to miss something crucial.
Recently, walking one of Rose’s dog clients, we discussed the particulars of an upcoming camping trip.
Then she looked up at me and said, “Now, you ask me a question.”
“Why do you want me to ask you a question?”
“Because it’s like receiving a present,” she answered, her hand swinging in mine.
Reach Rachel Turiel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her blog, 6512 and growing, on raising children, chickens and other messy, rewarding endeavors at 6,512 feet.