It’s foggy this morning—both outside the house and inside my head—and when that happens, it helps to keep things a little Sunny . . .
Maybe a week ago my six-and-two thirds, Mommy-year old, was pretending to eat her lunch and listening to her aunt and I explain the differences between Tolkien’s Hobbit and Peter Jackson’s movie to her grandmother, who wasn’t particularly interested in seeing the latter, even after we talked up the excellent dwarf dinner scene.
“What’s a dwarf?” Sunny asked.
“In the book and the movie, a dwarf is a very short warrior with a big beard,” I said, simplifying. “A bunch of them come into Bilbo’s house, eat all his food, and then take him on an adventure.”
“What’s a Bilbo?” Sunny asked, wrinkling her little nose.
“A hobbit,” we all said.
“Oh. What’s a hobbit?”
“They’re people with pointed ears and very hairy feet, so they don’t need shoes,” Watson said. “They’re mostly farmers, but some of them are very brave.”
“Tooks and Bagginses,” we said together.
“And they’re even smaller than the dwarfs,” I said. “About your size.”
“Smaller,” Watson said. “They’re only about three feet tall.”
“Really?” I asked, trying to remember. “Three feet? You’re not confusing them with Smurfs and apples?”
“I don’t think so,” Watson said. “Remember Bilbo holding all those dwarf weapons?”
“Huh,” I said. “Okay.”
“What about Smurfs?” Sunny asked.
“Smurfs are three apples high,” I said. “But they never really tell you how big those apples are. I mean, Macintosh or Granny Smith?”
That started the conversation veering in a different direction, and Sunny excused herself and wandered away.
Well after I’d forgotten about the conversation, Watson came up to me, laughing. “Want to hear what your child just said?”
“I don’t know.” I said. “Do I?”
“Well, Jane told Sunny she couldn’t do something because she was just a little kid.”
“Yeah. But then Sunny looked up at her, hands on her hips, and said, ‘I’m not a little kid, Janie! I’m a tall hobbit.'”
The day after Thanksgiving, my mother went to the huge local craft fair, as is her tradition, and bought—among many, many other things, which is also her tradition—each of the kids a large, round stone with their name carved in it.*
After dinner, as the adults and Jane finished their dessert around the dining room table, I noticed Sunny by the living room couch, because open floor plans are awesome.
She’d wrapped something in a couple of Thanksgiving napkins and was having an involved conversation with whatever it was.
“Sunny?” I asked, out of lazy curiosity. “Is that your name stone?”
“Yes. I’m keeping him safe.”
“Good idea.” And because I was full of turkey noodle soup and pumpkin cake and forgot who I was talking to for a second, I chuckled and asked, “Have you named your name stone, yet?”
I exchanged glances with Jane. “I guess even name stones need a name,” she said, shrugging.
“Is his name . . . Sunny?” I asked.
“No. His name is Sheldon.”
Jane and I stared at each other, eyebrows raised, and then at Sunny. “Sheldon?!“
Mom laughed so hard at our perfectly synchronized confusion that she nearly fell off her chair.
Also, I might add, a Thanksgiving tradition—at least on Sunny days.
*I cannot for the life of me make the grammar sound right in that sentence, so I’m giving up. Indy? Help?