Her philosophical turn of mind…
(She is eight years old in this panel.)
Frances: How many people in the world do you think are crying right now?
Frances: Have you always been a mother?
Frances: Heh! That would make us twins, and I’d be the same age, right?
I have developed a habit over the last five years of reading poetry to my girls (especially during summer vacations) and I’m always excited when I’m reminded of a poem that I haven’t read to them.
This morning, I read Invictus by William Ernest Henley to Frances:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
She didn’t ask me to read it again, but she did say that she thought that her sister needed to hear it.
There was a tense moment this evening at Frances’s end-of-year school concert. As a teacher on the stage was talking about a student who was graduating, she said, “Everybody loves him…”
At this point, I winced because Frances is very literal, very honest, and cannot stand an untruth to be spoken — the perfect storm of reasons for an outburst of protestation.
I surreptitiously, nervously, glanced down at her: nothing.
It could be that she had tuned out the speaker. At any rate, whatever the reason, I think my sigh of relief was audible.
Frances: Mum, look what I found.
Me: What is it?
Frances: It’s a dime.
Me: Oh, where did you find it?
Frances: The park. It’s a goldmine…