Thank you for Julian, who watches with excitement as I fold the laundry. His hands opening and closing in anticipation; a shriek of delight at the billow of a clean sheet as it hangs for a moment in the air.
Thank you for Orest in the distance as I walked towards the soccer field this evening - Eloise on his shoulders with her hands clamped to his forehead, parents already camped out on the sidelines, squinting into the 6pm light as the wind comes off Sloans Lake in wild gusts. It is the first practice and our team is a band of raggedy six-year-olds swarming after the soccer ball. Knocking each other over, pausing to do a cartwheel, or just standing in the middle of the fray as the ball rolls by, as if trying to remember why they are there. It feels like the beginning of a classic little league movie - an unlikely crew of misfits destined for greatness. Where every kid is either picking his nose or balling his eyes eyes out, but you know they are going to grow up together and end up winning the World Series.
Thank you for Ibrahim who met us on the curb outside his parents house and handed us the keys to his ’99 Land Cruiser. A big, ugly beast of a car that smelled like old leather and spicy after-shave and had somehow replaced our more practical notion of buying a mini-van. It was the kind of car you buy for sentimental reasons - because you grew up riding around in the back of the same car, like Ibrahim did, when he was a kid in Iraq. Or because should you need to (As Orest pointed out) you could use it to drive up the side of a rocky mountain to escape the zombie apocalypse. “It’s okay if you crash it,” he whispered as I left for a test drive, "because then we'll have to buy it.”
I drove it carefully around the block and then pulled over on the side of the road to sit in the wide backseat by myself. I tried to imagine that I was a kid, and this was the car I grew up in. And I hated to say it, but it was not a bad thing to imagine. When we were back at home sitting in our living room and trying to be reasonable, I said to Orest, “I think we better call him and let him know that we want to buy it.” His eyes lit up like a little kid, unable to contain his excitement. And he actually jumped into the air, which I have not seen him do since the day in the ultrasound room six years ago when we found out Moses was a boy.