A mere week after I returned from Launch Pad, my eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son have headed out to a week of outer-spacey goodness of their own. For this week at the rec center at Lake Hiawatha Park they are learning about outer space, playing dodgeball, doing art projects about outer space, hurling water balloons and eating cheese puffs (which, incidentally, look as though they’re from outer space).
Today, they came home with their very own planets of their very own design. Deedee’s planet is carefully painted green with a large red circle in its lower hemisphere and a small blue circle in its upper hemisphere. It has two moons – attached with skewer sticks – hovering just over the equator.
“This is the planet Boone,” Deedee explained carefully. “It’s seventy million light years away. It has a humanoid population. They are green, though their lips are purple. They have a language that sounds good to them, but to us it just sounds like jibberish. They love poetry and art. They use hot lava to cook and eat and bathe. This right here,” she points at the large red circle, “is their most famous lake of lava. Everyone goes there to visit. Only rich ones can live there though. They spend all day in their lake of lava until they are tired and then they go to bed. This here,” she points at the small blue circle,” is their volcano. It is always erupting. They write poems about their volcano and they believe that the universe was born in their volcano.”
I listened, mouth open, heart pounding in my throat. I love you, I thought. I love you, I love you, I love you.
“It’s wonderful,” I choked. Love in my eyes. Love in my hands. Love in my pounding heart.
Then, Leo chimed in.
“This is my planet,” he said, proudly pointing to his planet covered in scribbles with pipe cleaners erupting in crazy curves from point to point.
“It’s lovely,” I said.
“It’s called the Planet Fart. It’s called that because people go there. And then they fart.”
Yes, my darling,I thought. I love you too.