Hank: Oh mama! Those roses are beautiful!
Me: Oh, but Hank, smell them!
Hank: (drinking in their sweetness) Wow. Now they are even more beautiful!
Me: I adore my dumpster roses. Your papa came home from the Horta Pedagógica (community gardens) one night with a bunch of sticks wrapped in newspaper and said our neighbor stopped him and told him she had far too many roses and if he was interested she had thrown away a garden full and all he had to do was push those sticks into some soil and by the following year he’d have roses.
Hank: But you didn’t believe him. I remember.
Me: I had never grown roses before. I didn’t imagine it could be easy.
Hank: And so papa put the sticks in the ground.
Me: And I learned that even roses from the dumpster can bloom. I am sad I had to go and pick these but there is rain coming and these blooms would get spoiled.
Molly: (toddling into the kitchen) Quero (I want to) see.
Hank: (taking the largest rose to her to smell)
Molly: (breathing it in) Yummy. Mama, quero cerejas (I want cherries), pleeeeeeease.
Me: (plopping the roses into a vase) Sure. There is no better breakfast than a cherry breakfast. (lifting her up on the counter to sit next to a gigantic bowl of cherries that was full the night before)
Molly: Me do it.
Me: You have to be careful. Cherries have a stone inside. Don’t eat the stone. (vigilant)
Molly: Ta bem (okay). Look, look mama! (holding up a cherry) A tomato. (giggling and wiggling at her obvious joke) Yummmmmmy tomato!
Me: (tossing my head way back and praising her with a chuckle) A tomato, you are so funny.
Molly: (nodding, pleased as punch) I funny. (biting the cherry in half and handing it to me to take out the stone while selecting another one) Looook mama! Ah, ah, uh, uh strawbury! (tossing her head back, mimicking me, laughing)
Me: A strawberry? HA! (bending at the waist, rolling with laughter) Oh, that is funny. You’re so funny, MaGoo.
Molly: (nodding, beaming) I funny.
(roll of thunder)
Molly: What’s that? What’s that, mama?
Me: What do you think that is?
Molly: Ah, ah, ah, uh, ummmmmmm…. A dragon!
Hank: Guimarães is full of sleeping dragons, Amália.
Molly: (her finger to her lips) Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, dragon sleeping.
(another roll of thunder)
Molly: Ah, ah, uh, umm… Dragon hungry! Mama, Dragon hungry. (nodding, serious)
Me: That was the dragon’s empty belly rumbling?
Molly: SIM (Yes)! Dragon? Dra-gon!? Queres Cerejas (Want some cherries)?
Hank: Amália, dragons eat really specific foods. Are cherries on the list, mama? Remember the list of dragon foods?
Me: I know that list by heart! I have been feeding dragons since I was your age and I am a rather old woman.
Hank: (nodding then abruptly stops nodding when he realizes his nodding is saying he agrees I am old) You’re not old. You’re mama aged.
Me: (giggling) What day is it?
Me: (pre-coffee haze) Is it Thursday?
Hank: Yes, yesterday was (my) chemo day* so it was Wednesday.
Me: And there is thunder?
Me: Then the fates have aligned! Dragons only eat cherries in the spring on thunderous Thursdays.
Hank: (gasp) We need to tell Alice. She has a cherry tree!
Me: Don’t fret. They harvested their cherries yesterday. All the best farmers know about the dangers of a thunderous Thursday.
Hank: (smiling because he is on the cusp between still believing in magic and wanting to be the maker of magic) Amália?
Molly: (having forgotten all about us, cherry stained fingers and stuffed cheeks)
Hank: Dragons are our friends. They will come here, eat these cherries and grant you wishes and bring you luck.
Molly: No mano (brother)! NO! My cerejas (cherries)!
Me: Oh MaGoo. We have cherries to spare and I promise if today the dragons come and eat all of your cherries I will buy you more.
Hank: It is important you share!
Molly: Dragons! Ah, Ah, ah… No cherries. Tomatoes! Holding up a cherry. Tomato no cherries.
Hank: (whispering to me) Will that work?
Me: (whispering back) You can’t blame a girl for trying!
*I take a low dose oral chemotherapy for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis every Wednesday. Hank is a worrier and every Wednesday evening has an alarm on his and my phone to remind us that I need to take my medicine. Wednesdays have been dubbed chemo day.