Maggie was busy entertaining her fifteen month old cousin Lydia. Lydia mainly likes running around and giggling, bringing objects from one person to another, standing behind a glass door and waving goodbye, and putting things that she shouldn't into her mouth. So Maggie's job consisted mainly of taking things out of Lydia's mouth, waving goodbye back, and taking one object from her and giving her a different one. Then Lydia climbed up on the couch and looked around. She smiled and let herself fall face forward onto a stack of pillows.
Maggie walked over to Lydia and Maggie's shadow crept up on Lydia before Maggie got there. "Look Liddy," Maggie said. But no amount of pointing or moving back and forth could get Lydia to notice the shadow and not the body producing the shadow. Lydia looked curiously at Maggie weaving back and forth not noticing the shadow play being produced behind her.
There will come a magic moment when Lydia will notice her own shadow. She will be walking one morning early and see the long shape on the sidewalk in front of her. She'll notice that the shape stops when she does. She'll raise a hand cautiously and notice that the shadow waves back. Just when she has gotten to know her shadow well, it will disappear. When she comes out of pre-school at noon the shadow won't be waiting. The next morning it will be back.
Elena loved playing with shadows as we would walk. "Look Daddy, the shadows are holding hands." And then, like all children, she'd run ahead so that she could step on my shadow's head. "I'm standing on your head daddy," she'd laugh. Maggie loved making shapes with the shadows. She'd make dogs, and ducks, and foxes.
Then one day, a different day for each, shadows weren't such a big deal. Sure, every once in a while one or the other would make a remark about shadows but they were a given. If you had light and an object you would have a shadow. "Duhhh Dad, it's science."
But shadows aren't just science. Shadow is how you interact with the light. And sometimes your shadow is big and sometimes it's small. Sometimes you stand on someone else's head and sometimes your shadow is complete covered by someone else's. The best times are when your shadows combine to make new shapes.
Like shadows holding hands.