Nothing is more important than the map — except being able to read it correctly. Which neither Curtis or I can do.
Why oh why can’t I figure out any direction on these maps? It’s as though my own personal, internal gps has been wiped clean. I seem to have no directional capabilities at all.
Take Venice, for example. Easy enough, right? It’s an island, for heaven’s sake. Yes, but an island shaped like a fish, and is the fish head facing north or south?
And besides, the way the streets wind themselves around here, I feel as though the map is not worth having at all.
Until you are dying to go to lunch at that yummy, delicioso pizzeria you saw earlier in the day. It’s not like there’s one on every corner — actually there is. But you kinda get stuck on wanting THAT ONE. Or at least Curtis gets stuck on that.
Enter Zack. The new “keeper of the map.” He got us out of jams in Paris, Krakow and London, and now he’s proven his worth in Venice. When I felt sure the best use of the map was to make a paper plane and fly it into a canal, voila! Zack masters the map like a sailor from by gone days charting a course by the stars.
I’m telling you, this kid has a sense of direction that came to him in the womb. Which is why I can take credit for it.
I actually remember when he was 2 (yes, 2!) and he had identified every single basketball hoop in our neighborhood. When we were in the car, if I didn’t drive by each hoop, he would cry. Really cry, and stretch his little chunky arms and hands toward the direction of the hoop.
And now, 14 years later, I am deeply grateful for those little chunky arms that are now big (and hairy). Those hands that hold a wet, soggy, frayed map and make sense of it.
Which is why he’s been crowned “Keeper of the Map.” He gets to hold it in his pocket. He gets to pull it out and dictate directions to us. He gets to wield power over the entire family by pointing a finger in a single direction with complete confidence and willing us to move.
He is in heaven.
And so are we.