Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First Days and Mourning Zoe

Sunday night, about 10:30, I sat down for the first time in four or five hours. I had just finished making about 20 breakfast burritos and freezing them. I was ready to move on to something lazy. Sitting still in front of the TV and pretending to be a plant, maybe.

Brynna's door opened. I am lucky to have a house with really noisy doors to both of the girls' bedrooms. I put on my annoyed face and got ready for the whining. But that face dropped away as soon as I saw Brynna's crumpled face. She looked absolutely devastated.

She walked quickly to me and settled next to me on the couch. She looked up at me with absolute misery in her eyes and said, "Zoe died."

I wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and pulled her to me. My heart broke for her, but at the same time, I was filled with joy for the prospects that she had ahead of her.

You see, the Zoe whose death broke my little girl's heart was Zoe Nightshade of the Percy Jackson series.

It took me a good half hour and a lot of different tactics to calm her down. I employed everything from "Well, she's mythical, she might come back," to "I know it's hard, but this is how you know a book is good and important, when it makes you feel.

I can't help but be excited for every new thing she reads, every new world she slips into. She went down to my bookshelves last night and rummaged around and finally chose Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. I love it when she reads something I loved. And I love it when she reads different things, things totally un-alike.

The world is her oyster. She can be and do and like and enjoy anything she wants. And a large part of that is because she loves books.


Today was the first day of fourth grade. And she is, of course, a little nervous about it. She had butterflies this morning and even last week at open house. I don't worry about that kid in the least, though. She hopped out of the car this morning and never looked back at me, because she's got this.

She knows who she is and what she wants. She's good and smart and powerful. She is driven and interested and engaged. She loves school and reading. Her worst subject is gym. Seriously.

But even if it all falls apart, even if she gets a terrible teacher and hates the fourth grade and comes home crying every day, she will survive. Because she'll have a million other worlds where she can escape. A million adventures, a million love stories, a million monsters to slay.

She's got this.

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