We have started eating dinner together more lately, as Jonah’s bedtime has gotten later, and suddenly, this happened:
One night, just as we were all seated at our places and about to dig in, Jonah yelled, “Wait! We have to do a blessing!”
(Actually, I’m pretty sure this either comes from his preschool, or/and from dinners at his friend’s house, where I, too, have experienced the lovely blessings their family gives before dinner. Similar to what I experienced almost 20 years ago, when I spent a week at Tassajara, a Buddhist monastery.)
Jonah takes our hands. And begins.
“Thank you for this wonderful house,” he says. Only in some words, he can’t say TH, so it comes out “STank you.” And “wonderful” is really long: “whun derr fuoll.”
“Thank you for this wonderful food,” he continues. “Thank you for to the Earth for the plants and the grains. (Only he says, “Ear-FFPH”.) Thank you for all the wonderful children in the world who I might make friends with someday. Thank you for the wonderful flowers.”
Yes, he is amazing.
Tonight, he invited us to add our own blessings after he was finished. And then we all said “I love you.”
* * *
Last night, he finally had his first real introduction to Star Wars. Not the movie. Not yet. But the photo-book, Scott’s personal copy from 1978. They’d been to a Star-Wars-themed birthday party that day, and Jonah was besotted with the little Darth Vader cupcake decorations.
He’s familiar with some of the characters due to their toy-representational presence around our house, their images on Scott’s t-shirts, and from conversations with other kids at school.
But this was the first time Scott really introduced Jonah to the wonder of Episode 4.
I eavesdropped from the other room as Scott went through each page, telling the story. When they got to the bar scene with all the different aliens, Jonah said, “Is that all one guy, doing different things?”
“No,” explained Scott. “They are all the same type of alien but different guys. They’re in a band together.”
Later that night, Jonah demanded that Scott turn over his Darth Vader keychain. As is the fashion these days, this is a very kid-friendly Vader, short and squat with a wide head and thick, oversized hands.
It thoroughly eclipsed our reading of Winnie the Pooh during bedtime.
“Are you even listening to me?” I asked. He was fiddling incessantly with the little figure.
“Yes,” he insisted.
But we stopped books to discuss. “What is this for?” asked Jonah, pointing to the boxes and buttons on its chest.
As we talked, I noticed that Jonah was calling him “Dark Vader.”
That was cute, and in a way accurate, but I decided that it might be important for him to know the actual pronunciation at some point, so I chose to correct him.
“Jonah, it’s Darth Vader. Da-ar-TH,” I explained, carefully.
“But I can’t say, DarFFPH,” Jonah explained back to me, “so I just call him DaRK Vader.”