As it turns out, my beautiful wife Jessica is ill this weekend, which rather limits the Valentine’s Day festivites. River, our four-year-old, wandered the house this morning looking a little sad. “Mommy, are you sick?” she kept asking. Then she had a good, creative idea. She decided to make a Valentine’s Day castle for her mother. She enlisted my help in shoring up structural weaknesses, but the design and color scheme were her creation.
I have taken this photographic record to show her mother later, because the towers have a way of toppling, and I don’t want Jessica to miss what River built “for mommy”:
She designed the castle as an add-on to her schoolhouse:
And she peopled it with her teacher, the other preschoolers, and members of her family. The blonde standing inside the tower below, River tells me, is her sister Inara, who is disabled but who, in all of River’s drawings and creations, is always depicted standing tall. The red-haired boy in the foreground, I’m told, is River herself:
“River and Inara,” River says proudly. “Two sisters, together!”
My wife Jessica is the most beautiful brunette, and just seeing her takes my breath away. That said, in River’s block castles, the blonde on the far right always plays Mommy. She stands on the tallest tower in this Castle of Play and Good Health. The woman in the center is the teacher from River’s schoolhouse:
My own favorite part is this stack of blue triangles, spiraling upward like a stair, or like some alien creature rising from an unknown deep. “It’s a hexagon!” River says. “I built a hexagon!”
I’m not sure it’s a hexagon, but I really like it:
Pictured here, the artist herself:
That’s my little River!
And even as I post this, I can hear the cracking of towers in the other room and the wild giggling of my four-year-old. So I believe the Castle has fallen. Good thing I have this documentary to share with Jessica when she feels a little better! I will go check on her now, kiss her forehead gently, and see if River needs any help building another castle. Or maybe a den for dragons. Or maybe an airplane. Or whatever she has in mind.
Stant Litore is a novelist. He writes about gladiators on tyrannosaurback, Old Testament prophets battling the hungry dead, geneticists growing biological starships, time-traveling hijabi bisexual defenders of humanity from the future. Explore his fiction here. And here is one of his toolkits for writers, and here’s another book where he nerds out about ancient languages and biblical (mis)translation. Enjoy!