Before we left China, we read the story of Noah and the rainbow.
"Mom, are rainbows real?" Gabe asked.
"Yes, of course they're real," I said.
Gabe frowned. "Then why haven't I ever seen one?"
Last week, while playing in the sprinkler, Gabe saw his first rainbow. I watched his face break into a smile.
"Mom!" he yelled. "They are real!"
One day, back in China, Gabe and I were walking outside. Gabe ran to a nearby grassy enclosure and picked me a dandelion.
As he handed it to me, he said, "Mom, Carter thinks these are called dandelions."
I laughed. "They are called dandelions, Gabe."
"No, they're not," he said. "They're sunflowers."
"No, honey," I said. "Sunflowers are really huge and tall ... You'll see them this summer when we go to grandma and grandpa's in America. These little weeds are called dandelions."
Last night, sitting at the picnic table after dinner, Gabe saw his first sunflower peeking over the fence from the neighbor's yard. His eyes lit up.
So, that's a real sunflower.
When we were in China, Gabe liked to tell us one particular joke.
"What's a baby's favorite constellation?" he'd ask.
"The big diaper," he'd say. "Get it? The big diaper, instead of the big dipper, the big diaper!"
While we were camping, Gabe got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. As we were walking across the camp to get to the restrooms, I pointed up at the sky, crowded with stars.
"And that's the big dipper," I said.
Gabe tipped back his head. "That's the big dipper?"
"Yep, that's it."
"I've never seen the big dipper before. I just saw it in movies. I've never seen it in real life."
After we came back from the bathroom, I didn't feel hurried to get him back in bed. We sat in a chair with our chins tilted up, watching the sky.
And Gabe saw his first shooting star.