A wish-I-could-illustrate ode to holiday with my son.
I wrote this for us, not for you,
but perhaps you’ll enjoy it too?
If not, that’s OK.
This is Lo, a boy in the world.
On his sixth December, his father explained,
The two of them would be boarding a plane.
“This winter,” said Dad, “instead of the zoo,
Or sitting around with nothing to do,
Or eating just candy ’til your face turns blue,
This year, we are doing something new.
At first, Lo thought this was no good at all!
He’d much rather stay home watching snow fall.
But Dad was persistent, and even insistent,
To do something different.
So they opened a map, and flipped through a lot
Until Dad stopped and pointed at a far-away dot.
“Over the ocean we go!”
“But Dad, will they have snow?”
“I really don’t know. But if there’s no snow,
We’re still going to go.”
As their date of departure got near,
Lo, strangely, lost all his fear
And replaced it with cheer
And “Is it here? The day that we leave?”
Until finally, “Yes! Tonight’s the eve!”
So they packed up their suitcases, filled to the max
With books and underpants and bags of snacks
And they drove their car through a fierce winter storm
Until reaching a bed, warm.
Early next morning, the sky was still dark
But Dad and Lo reached the bus park
And shuttled on over to catch their first flight:
A short little jump to the right.
“The ocean,” said Dad, “is big and deep
and takes a long time to cross - perhaps we can sleep.”
“If it’s so far away,” asked Lo, “then why
Should we go there at all? Why even try?”
“Because the world’s a big place.
And we have a suitcase!”
The second plane flew all through the night -
Lo went to sleep dark, woke with the light,
Looked out the window, and though he could see
Green fields and roads and people and trees,
It all looked the same!
“Dad! Why did we go
So far from the snow
And my toys and my books
And my snacks and my friends?”
“You will see. Let’s go look.”
The far-away city was familiar but new.
Lots of people, and food, and things to do!
He saw lots of pigeons, and even more bikes
(which these far-away people sure seemed to like).
Fancy hotel rooms, bakery shops,
Science museums with restaurant tops.
Croissants on each corner! Seventy cheeses!
Boats with pizza with peppery sneezes!
It was too much to see and hard to keep up,
So eventually Lo had a sleep-up.
Day after day, they continued to roam:
A streetcar to lunch, a cab to hotel-home,
A train to a train to a train to a boat,
Another hotel, cathedral, and coat.
Together they saw so many things
And ate so many pizzas
And had so many sings.
Carousels, towers, trampolines and canoes,
They walked so much they needed new shoes.
The far-away people used funny voices
That sounded like mumbling marble mouth noises,
That only far-aways understand.
So Lo grabbed Dad’s hand,
And asked, “What are they saying?”
“Well, those two boys over there are playing
And those grown-ups are talking about walking.
That family right there, they’re trying to decide
Whether to eat in- or out-side.”
Lo thought some more. He wasn’t quite sure what to say,
How to talk to the far-aways. But he knew how to play,
So he ran up to one of them, waved a hello,
And the two of them started to go
Up a ladder,
Into a ship.
Lo mumbled in home-speak,
While the boy mumbled far-speak,
And together they fought
The pirates attacking the park.
But eventually, all adventures must end.
And so, little Lo on day number ten
Said to his Dad,
“I love these new toys
And far-away parks with far-away girls and boys
And seeing the buildings and scaring the birds
And riding the trains and reading sign-words.
But I’m ready to go home. I miss my old bed.
I miss my family, friends, and white bread.”
So they packed up their suitcases, returned to the train,
Returned on a bus and a plane and a plane.
He watched out the window as they started to land
And saw the green grass and the hills and grand
Buildings and cars starting their day.
And he asked: “Is this home, or far-away?”
And Dad would say: “Yes.”
Dad’s answer was no good at all,
But he does that sometimes.
When their car reached the house,
Lo ran to the door
Past the mouse racing past on the floor
And leaped up the stairs
To his comfy home-bed.
He greeted his animal-friends by saying
How much fun he had playing
In the far-away
And how from up high,
Up in a plane,
Home and far-away seemed quite the same.