Not very often do I have Sydney in the car without Jules, but we were on our way to ballet practice, and the little sister had stayed home with Daddy.
We drove in silence for awhile--the car stereo enjoying a rare moment of meditation--only occasionally interrupted by a squeak from Adelynn who needed her pacifier readjusted. It was nice to be quiet. No arguing from the girls, no need to navigate through the reasons why no one could have gum or crackers or why I had forgotten to pack a water bottle. I'm not one who demands silence in the car; I'm usually the one who starts us all singing some kind of song. But this afternoon, on our drive, Sydney and I kept our songs and thoughts to ourselves.
As we drove past the pumpkin patch and Christmas tree farm, I remembered that Sydney had had a bad dream the night before. She doesn't like to talk about her scary dreams because talking about it makes it more frightening for her, but I thought I'd interrupt the peace and ask anyway. "You had a scary dream last night?"
"Yes. About earthquakes."
We don't have earthquakes around here, although the media often threatens us with The Big One. I asked Sydney if she'd had an earthquake drill at school. No. No drill. How did she know about earthquakes? From a book.
And so we talked about earthquakes and all manner of natural disasters. How fires were less scary than earthquakes because you could escape them, but then again, earthquakes only lasted a few seconds (not all day, to Sydney's relief). We talked about tornadoes and hurricanes and what to do if you ran outside and a power line was down.
I broke it all down for her, the science of scary things, and she made connections that amazed and impressed me. As I drove into town, through the streets, turning at the stop lights, our conversation went back and forth. We talked like two people having a nice conversation: without distraction, drama or interruption.
Finally we arrived at the dance studio.
"That was fun," Sydney said as she hopped out of the car.
"What was?" I asked, momentarily distracted by the handle on the baby's car seat.
"Talking about all that. I liked it."
I smiled to myself, and then made a conscious effort to look in Sydney's eyes as I said, "It was fun."
Not every day has a moment between noise and quiet, but today as we drove through country fields and city streets, Sydney and I found it.
And it was magic.