This I Believe

Cosenza - Atascadero, California
Entered on June 5, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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“I know everything” she said to me clearly, emphatically, truthfully. With her still as yet baby hands firmly placed precisely—one on each hip. A sparkling yellow Princess Belle Dress danced between her legs and bustled up behind her as the breeze intensified for just the moment she made her declaration. The assuredness of her stance, the confidence of her gaze and the audacity of her remark urged my laugh while parenting book quotes and advice whirled through my head and stifled it mid-way. Ava is four—she has developed into the more precocious and political of my twin girls; she is funny and beautiful and smart.

After she revealed to me her omniscient gift, my mind raced with responses: reasons why she couldn’t possibly know everything. Reasons of why it was impossible for any one person to know everything and perhaps to begin explaining that the first step to really knowing anything is realizing that you know nothing. How could I explain that while I folded the laundry my mind raced with litanies of things to be done today, this week, this year? How could I convey that tragedy had just struck Indonesia? That our country’s fate seems in jeopardy? How to explain what a country even is? Her reference point is our family—that to her it is the world.

As I gazed upon her radiant face framed with curls and fixed with knowledge my question of whether or not we would be able to pay the mortgage this month vanished. My uncertainty of when I would next see my newborn niece who lives two thousand miles away disappeared. My fears about our political future became so very distant. I saw my daughter secure in herself, certain in my love for her, confidant in the stability of our family and I realized that perhaps she does know everything. I recognized that she had not yet lost the soul revealing gaze that had transfixed me on the day she was born. Ava was sure about what was real inside of me, she was certain about what was real inside of her, she was unquestioning about what was good in her world. I stopped folding my laundry, I breathed in deeply—I stilled my mind and appreciated all that was right in my life. I gave that child of mine a hug and realized that the mere utterance of a young girl has the power to ground us—to reveal everything that is RIGHT not point out only that which is wrong. I realized that my four year old is perhaps a bit wiser that I. In this I believe.