Kid-colored lenses / by Susie Lubell


My son loves to play in our car. When I allow it, which is to say when I have time to keep an eye on him from the kitchen or garage, he's happy to play in there for long stretches. When he's done invariably I have to put everything back to its off position - wipers, seat heaters, indicators, hazards - but it's a small price to pay so I indulge this simple pleasure. I wish I could take that much pleasure out of being in my car. Maybe if it wasn't so filthy. Or if I was five.

So recently I've been trying to see the world through kid-colored lenses. Last weekend we took the kids to fly kites. As we were setting up the string and trying to get these things up with little wind, it occurred to me that I had never flown a kite. Or at least I don't remember ever flying a kite. And I found it to be completely exhilarating. At one point I was actually running with my kite (no wind can be a problem) and I'm sure I had one of those golden retriever with his head hanging out a car window kind of grins. Just running with my arms up in the sky waving my kite.

And this weekend I took the kids up to San Francisco for the day to give my husband time to build our murphy bed (more on that later). My son bugs me constantly to take trains. He loves trains. He is enchanted by transportation. So we got on a 10:15 train to San Francisco and he talked the entire seventy-five minutes it took to get there. The color of the tracks. The naughty boy who was skateboarding at the station. The back hoe loader that was next to the tracks. The south going train. The man who collected tickets. He enjoyed every part of the trip especially getting to the final station where there were dozens of trains. But it gets better. I took them on the Muni - the light rail system in San Francisco or the "electric train" as he calls it. So now that we've taken Muni I figure all I need to do is get a trampoline and I can hang up my hat until he goes to college, basking in my "greatest mom on earth" title. Right? We took it five or six stops to the Ferry Building and got off to get some kettle corn at the farmer's market.

We sat at the wharf and ate kettle corn and strawberries and watched the seagulls and the boats and the zillion people buzzing about. I wish I'd had my camera. There was even a guy who writes poems for you on his old school typewriter while you wait. You just give him the topic (and a few bucks is my guess). I wanted to catch the 3:15 train back home (by this point I was back to wearing my mommy-colored lenses) so we didn't stop for a poem on the fly. But the next time we have transportation day I will absolutely take a moment to ask for a poem about taking a moment to enjoy life's simple pleasures.