Hank: … Character and life. I understand you better now.
Me: There is a papelaira (stationary shop) on the way to the gardens. Let’s pop in there and get you a nice new inking pen and you can sit at the picnic tables and work while I plant my carrots, beets and beans.
Hank: That is my exact thinking. (pause) I have so many drawings thinking up my head it is getting crowded.
Me: Are you all ready for tucking deep in that bed?
Hank: Almost. I need more Molly snuggles.
Me: (handing over the baby)
Molly: (beaming at her brother’s love)
Hank: Mama, this cream you put on Molly before she goes to bed…
Me: It’s the same cream I used with you when you were a baby.
Hank: When I smell Molly this smell always makes me think of Josita (family friend) and her house and makes me love her.
Me: I love her, too. So much.
Hank: And I love her house.
Me: You love her house because she lives in it and therefore it is very special.
Me: And her garden and the pond and the lake (Michigan) down the road.
Hank: And we lived there for a little bit, too.
Me: We did.
Hank: And I slept in the closet.
Me: You were three and fit perfectly in this little closet in our room. So I made you a little nest and you slept there so happily. So much so that you still remember it today.
Hank: Why did we live there? Did papa work at Josita’s University?
Me: No, although papa worked very hard when we were there. Before we moved to Portugal we needed to stay with friends for two months.
Hank: Why didn’t we just stay at our house?
Me: That is a very good question. We lived in a college town, just like Guimarães, and in a college town the houses are rented to go along with the school schedule, August-August. We moved to Portugal in October so we had to leave our house and find places to stay for the last two months.
Hank: And that is why we lived with Megumi and Shing and Chiwa before Miwa was born and Josita?
Me: Exactly. Yup. August with Megumi and Shing (family friends) and September with Josita.
Hank: (hugging Molly close) Now, I understand my memories.
Me: Some of my happiest memories are from those two months with our dear friends. So many things happened in that short time. It was beautiful and also very challenging. (smiling) This is your life’s story. I am happy you care to know all the details.