From the Left



The growing stillness of home, but then Maya came along

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

I had been looking forward to the quiet.

The house in which we raised six children was finally empty, save for a stray Millennial or two. The SpongeBob SquarePants toys had gone to charity, the Barbie Dream House was gathering dust in the attic and there was no longer a car seat permanently strapped into my backseat.

As the Mrs. and I pushed toward 60, the growing stillness felt like a reward for the decades we spent chasing toddlers and scolding teenagers.

And then came Maya.

At least, I think that's her name. That's what it says on her birth certificate.

But at least once a day she tells me I'm wrong. She flounces into my office clad only in her underwear, some blanket or sweater draped on her head to simulate flowing hair and, with arms akimbo, waits for me to make the mistake of saying, "Good morning, Maya." Whereupon, she rolls her eyes, tosses her "hair" and informs me with pitying exasperation that I've made a mistake.


"I'm not Maya," she says, "I'm Elastigirl" meaning the mother in "The Incredibles."

Or, "I'm not Maya, I'm Elsa, the Snow Queen," the heroine from "Frozen."

Or, "I'm not Maya. My name is Rapunzel" as in the character from the fairytale.

You get the idea. I had been looking forward to the quiet -- did I say that already? -- but instead I got Maya. Rapunzel. Whatever.


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