After Mass during the school year, there are a few obligatories: a fresh pot of coffee and something sweet. Feed the soul, then feed the spirit. Something like that. Perhaps accompany it with something to read, maybe a game of chess. But eventually, it’s time for the trial and treasure, for it’s something K loves and loathes doing. Polish lessons.
The love is easy: it’s her language, her culture, that she’s sharing with her beloved daughter. The loathe comes from the frustration that sometimes accompanies it. Perhaps “loathe” is not the right word — perhaps it was just too alliterative to pass up. “It’s something that K loves and that frustrates her” doesn’t quite make it. Always searching for the right word, never able to find it, which is what makes the Polish lessons so frustrating for the Girl. Her passive vocabulary, like everyone’s, is much larger than her active vocabulary. She can understand more than she can say, like me in Polish.
E, on the other hand, has of late only a passive vocabulary for the most part. The production has ceased. However, we’re seeing that language and such is perhaps just not his strength. He can watch a cartoon about how airplanes fly and remember it long afterward. (Language, though? K was trying to teach him a Polish prayer the other evening, and he replied, “You must be kidding me! I can’t remember that!”)
In the evening, it’s time to feed the soul once again — a quiet bonfire in the backyard. The temperatures have cooled, the mosquitoes have disappeared, and we’ve entered our favorite time of the year.
We’ve been waiting all summer for this. The kitchen is mostly done, our routines have returned, the weather has cooled, and it’s time to start everything again. So what better way to end than with a song by Antoine Dufour, a Quebecois guitarist, who wrote a song for his yet-unborn son, a song about waiting, a song I’ve listened to at least a dozen times this weekend. Perhaps the most beautiful acoustic guitar song I’ve ever heard.