Tiny Bridges


This morning, I went through a bag of school work that Zeca had brought home at the end of the year. Yes, I realize school ended weeks ago but she had tucked it into her closet and then, when asked to clean her room last week, she dumped it in my room. She waved her hand and said, "Go through this and keep the best for my portfolio…" as she left the room. There are often treasures in these bundles of papers, words and glimpses of who they are, the bigger picture. Zeca's report on John Adams was in this bag and I laughed as I read her conclusion, "John died in 1826 but I will always remember him." There is so much Zeca in that sentence - the familiarity, the dramatic touch - I will tuck that report into the file folder I keep in the top of my closet.

And then I found a tiny bridge made of popsicle sticks and toothpicks.

I remember her telling me about the project, about how much harder it was to make a bridge than she thought. She worked with a friend and I remember her saying that it fell apart and they had to start over but then I never heard about it again. But, they obviously finished and I held it in my hand to appreciate it fully. It had survived being shoved in a paper bag - a paper bag that was then thrown in a closet and then thrown in a corner and then thrown on my bed this morning. And, as I was taking pictures of this tiny marvel today, I dropped it on the floor.

I held my breath, worried that this tiny bridge that had been rebuilt by small hands and had survived it's long journey from school to home would shatter at my feet but it bounced and came to rest on the hardwood floor perfectly intact.

When Zeca got home, I held the bridge in my hand and told her that she had done a good job. She said, "Well, it's ugly and wax paper stuck on the points but we tried to build it strong." I told her she succeeded and said, "Do you want to know how I know?" She said, "You dropped it." Damn that kid knows me.

I don't generally keep things my kids make that can't be slipped easily into a file folder but I find myself wanting to hold on to the tiny bridge. Maybe I just want to remember that, sometimes, things aren't as fragile as they seem.