Wednesday, October 21, 2009

7 vs. 8

I'm having a hard time seeing Max as eight.

As I watched Max today, I realized that there's a reason besides "birthday grief" that I'm having trouble calling him 8. It's a very simple reason, too.

He looks like a 7.

His body continues to grow (and his facial features do, too), though his head doesn't change much. So there's that. And there's also the fact that the gap between his chronological age and "age-appropriate" behaviors continues to widen each year, so that things that were more easily overlooked in a two-year-old version of Max become glaringly obvious in his 8-year-old self.

When people ask his age now, and I reply, "He's eight," there is a pause that occurs while their wheels begin to spin...and it feels like that pause is now lasting a few beats longer than it did before.

These things are all true, and I could easily go on, but what I'm trying to say is much more literal than that.

I really mean HE LOOKS LIKE A 7!

Seven is all angles and edges and lines and corners, slightly off-balance & a bit awkward. It's long and thin and sharp. It's bendy and tilted and seems to be perpetually aiming somewhere, hurtling towards a vague place just over there. Even in stillness, 7 implies motion. It's hard to capture and difficult to split. It's easily misread. Seven is odd.

But 8? Eight is round and smooth and even. It's perfectly proportioned and bubbling with symmetry. 8 is chubby and full, like babies, Buddha, fresh warm zweibach. It's quiet and still, poised and straight, endlessly balanced, Zen. 8 is easy to dissect and examine, mathematically and visually. 8 is complete, full-circle, finished (twice!) -- and when it gently lies down to sleep, it promises infinity. Eight is whole.

I often look for signs or symbolism that isn't really there. And when I see it, I want to believe it.

So today I'm wondering -- could it really be that simple? Is 8 a sign of things to come?

Magic 8 Ball Wisdom

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