Telling: Altars & Artifacts


miracles of static electricity

Jacob's in the bath, Gus and Tucker frolicking in my room with a lingering birthday balloon, batting it up and trying to keep it from falling back to the ground. Inevitably, it gets stuck between a fanblade and the ceiling. I come in just in time to see Gus poke it with a broom to get it loose. Instead of falling down, the balloon just hangs there, kissing the ceiling, as if it were filled with helium rather than mama-breath. Gus, Tucker and I all stand, wide-mouthed and motionless with the awe of it. Because a mystery calls for poking, Gus soon raises the broom again. I stop him. "Jake has to see this." I say, dashing off the bathroom. "Jake Jake," I call stepping up close to the tub and turning my back, contorting my body to get my head at tub level to judge the view. From the end of the tub, just above the rim, you can just see down the hall, into my room, just past the fan where the balloon hangs suspended. "Put your head here Jake. Put your head right here and you can see it. It's amazing. Come on come on. Look into my room, up on the ceiling." With some resistance, Jake complies. He looks, he sees. "Isn't that wonderful, Jake? Isn't it amazing? Look at it just hanging there."

Jacob turns his most unimpressed face on my enthusiasm. "Static electricity Mom, you heard of that?"

I forget about the miracle of the balloon. I stare at my six year old, barenaked, pokerfaced son. For a heartbeat I am completely still, then I throw back my head and whoop with joy. I am laughing so hard I have to sit down on the wet tile floor. Jacob knows static electricity when he sees it. Halleluja.

Miracles everywhere I turn.

A Mother's Journal

field notes from
1997 - 1999