Gloominess on a Sunny Day

Today was a beautiful sunny day in what is normally a dreary period in the Pacific Northwest.  My 5 y.o. daughter didn’t see it that way initially.  Maybe because she wasn’t tall enough to see out the window.

“I’m tired of getting dressed.  I’m just so sick of everything,” she said in the bathroom this morning as I was getting myself ready.

“The day hasn’t started yet.  What are you so angry about?”

“Why do you say good morning?”

“What am I supposed to say?  What a terrible morning?  What a horrible morning?”

The conversation took place in Russian.  My husband says her personality is due to the fact that she’s half Russian, a reference to our stereotypical gloomy personalities.  We’re not gloomy.  We are philosophical and tend to scratch for an elusive truth that leaves us disappointed.  American interpretation: gloomy, sullen, serious.

We visited a friend’s house today, whose grandchildren attend the Russian school with Polina.  I bought dessert and flowers.

“Why are we bringing them flowers?”

“Because we don’t show up to a guest’s house empty handed.”


I love these moments where I get to participate in the formation of a civilized human being.

I drew Polina’s attention to a patch of thick clouds.

“What’s above the clouds?”

“The atmosphere.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a place where there isn’t a lot of oxygen; where planes fly.”

“Why isn’t there a lot of oxygen?”

This is where I despise my lackluster public school education.

“Because nature made it that way.”

When we arrived, Polina clung to my leg.  She can be quite clingy in new environments or around people she doesn’t know.  I apologize and tell them she tends to adjust after 20 minutes or so in a new environment.

“Everything is okay,” assures the hostess.

We take a short walk in the sunshine and Polina settles down and begins playing and conversing with her 4 y.o. classmate.  A short while later, his 6 y.o. brother arrives and they immerse in play for almost 6 hours.  They barricade themselves in a closet and make a fort.  They giggle and laugh on the futon in the guest room.  They team up to carry huge branches through a park.  They play hide and seek behind blueberry bushes and sit by a lake for almost an hour.  They are immersed in childhood play Mark Twain- like.  This is one of my favorite moments of childhood.

We enjoy good food and conversation, Russian style.  I seek to connect to my roots.  My questions were met with philosophical retorts, with half the people supporting my question and half finding if senseless.  Like what do you call a noon lunch date in Russian?  Answer: there is no proper name.  It’s not breakfast or lunch.  You could say second breakfast or better yet, just the meeting time.  Lunch is 3-5 pm in Russian, followed by supper at around 8 pm.  This lack of a name for a noon eating time is still confusing to me.

By the end I was exhausted- mentally, spiritually and physically (the latter more from digestion than exertion.)  It was an exceptionally good day with good food and company.

Even Polina enjoyed it, until she returned to her grumpy mood at bedtime.

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