Pterodactyl eggs are egg whites that are allowed to roam free in a skillet until they are fried into a large oblong blob. My daughter made them for her daughter when she refused to eat anything that came from an animal. They made a game out of looking for cracks in the make believe shell, and somehow that made eating it okay for a five-year old. A year later, Dino chicken was added. The small pieces of white meat cut into shapes of various dinosaurs became the only protein the then six-year old wouldn't tun her nose up at.
Today, my granddaughter and I sat down to a remembrance lunch of pterodactyl eggs and Dino chicken in honor of her mom, and It's amazing what an imaginative lunch with an 11 year old can do for a writer. As she talked about the good times when her mother was with us, and the bad times that we have worked through this last two years, I began to see how adaptability can actually be a life jacket. It can keep your head above the waters of depression and uncertainty. It can keep your emotions just below the surface where they are safe and close to your heart. It can keep the world at bay, and cocoon your sorrow. But it also allows moments of happiness to peer through the fog.
The look on her face, and the deepness of her pain and joy made me realize that I am not seeing a hollowness in my character. No. Instead I am seeing only the surface in Rachel--the life jacket that she has chosen to keep her afloat in an alien world. It's given me a new perspective, and a need to bring some of her emotions to the surface. Who would have thought that pterodactyl eggs and Dino chicken could be so inspiring? Or, maybe it was the wisdom I found in the heart and mind of an eleven-year old who has experienced the pain of loss. Thank you granddaughter.