It took me by surprise, her question. Because I didn’t think today was so beautiful: Today was freaking hot–like, sumo-wrestler-sweaty-armpit hot. The air shimmered in the afternoon light, clinging to my skin, and I was lugging my purse, a bulging laundry bag, a Princess Tiana doll, and small plastic bag with the remains of three snails. The hair that wasn’t frizzing like an 80s porn star was matted to my forehead, and about halfway between the gan (kindergarten) and the pool it dawned on me I had forgotten to put on deodorant.
I swallowed a sigh, and tried to see the world through her eyes. The pools of sunlight. A bedraggled butterfly that was still beating its wings against the turgid air. A crop of flowers that had just sort of perked up out of nowhere in the middle of the relentless summer.
“Tell me why today is beautiful,” I said.
“Because God is amazing.”
My mind skipped a step, because we hadn’t gotten down to the real nitty gritty when it comes to the God, because I like to use a wide brush when describing things that I’m still trying to understand.
“Mama, do you believe in God?” she asked before I could react.
“Yes, I do,” I said. And I mean it, I really do, even if I haven’t figured out all the nuts and bolts of what I believe, and even though admitting it out loud on a secular kibbutz is sacrilegious.
“Good. Because when you believe in God, God gets bigger and bigger and bigger and can do everything in the whole world. But when you don’t believe in God, God is very very small and just sits in a corner waiting for you to believe so He can come back to work and make things beautiful for us.”
And as I stared at the miracle that is my daughter and as I marveled at what she had just told me, I know this to be true: Today is beautiful.