A few feet above my daughter’s bed hangs a mobile of our solar system.
It’s cheap, the kind thing you buy when trying to get out of a science museum gift shop for under $10. The planets are far from to scale: Saturn’s rings are emphasized to make it look more Saturn-y. There’s a moon the size of Earth included for balance. The sun hangs in the center surrounded by everything else on various lengths of white sewing thread.
The mobile’s been there for a few years but only recently caught my eye. I started watching it each night as she falls asleep and looking in on it when passing her room. By night it spins and twists; in an empty room by day, it hangs still.
I assumed it had something to do with the heat registers.
One night, as I lay next to my day-weary kid, my mind switching from work thought to work thought like a car radio on scan, I exhaled with a sigh. Sighs are common in these parts.
That big orange sun caught the breeze. Soon, Venus and Neptune were dancing. I let out a long steady breath, birthday-candle style, and the whole system was spinning, gently, pleasantly.
It hadn't occurred to me that we were the ones making it spin. When it hit me, I smiled.
And I felt silly and powerful and incredibly small, all at the same time.