I went over to a friend's house this evening for the first time in probably a year or more. His children have grown appreciably, now ranging in age from about 18 months to 7 years. The younger two, both still toddlers, spent the entire evening screeching and gabbling nonsense at an unholy volume as they pattered around the apartment, chasing one another or being persecuted by their older brother. I had a technical task that I was working on, and I did not watch them through any of this, but the sound about drove me mad.
Then, as I was leaving, I took a moment not only to say goodbye to my friend and his wife, but to these two deafening blond ricochets with their wide eyes and plump cheeks.
As is often the case with children of that age, they clammed up entirely as soon as a strange adult began to address them. Clearly, they found me novel and entertaining, but just as clearly, they did not know what to make of me, and stood with breathless infant wonder on their faces, waiting to see whether I would do something terrifying or hilarious.
With their howls subdued, I could see them at last for the beautiful, joyful creatures they were, and could understand that they had been those same creatures even as they had been producing every grotesque racket that might come out of a three-year-old throat over the course of an evening.
The human animal is an amazing, wild, nerve-wracking, transcendent thing.
Thank you, goddess of love, for every demonstration of that fact that you give to me.