‘Every Day You Renew the World’

Courtesy Anthony Doerr

To Owen and Henry

Do you remember this morning, when you were cooking bacon in the microwave, and I kept finding reasons to “help” you rather than go to work? Do you remember when Owen wanted to be a zombie hunter for Halloween so I helped him build a “Zombie Vanquisher” from dowels, glue, and black spray paint? But it came out looking exactly like an oversized M-16 and Mom wasn’t pleased? How about the Ultimate Legendary Domino Run of Magnificence that Henry built that covered the whole downstairs and featured marbles on tracks, cascading rows of books, and Cranky the battery-operated crane?

Do you remember the thirty different times we put the sprinkler under the trampoline and played whip-the-Nerf-ball-at-each-other Wrestlemania? Or the time we walked right onto that reef in Hawaii like fools and you guys got urchin spines in your toes and we had to pour mom’s pee on your feet and Owen named that place “Crap Bucket Beach”? Do you remember how many times I’d get home from work and you guys would say, “Let’s play sports!” and we’d go out in the cul-de-sac and play Aerobie-scooter-basketball? Do you remember broom hockey on the frozen pond in the gulch, or climbing to the top of that campanile in Italy, or that time I forgot to put the tooth fairy money under Henry’s pillow, stashed $3 in his sheets the next afternoon, and tried to convince him that it had been in his bed all along? Did you believe me?

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And what about that time you guys made your grandparents the Best Bacon Sandwiches of All Time in Paris, or the taste of that trout we caught and cooked beside Boulder Lake with Uncle Mark, or eating Chips Ahoy way up on some granite slab miles from any road with your cousin Will while the sun turned the sky sixty thousand different shades of orange?

Or reading The Old Man and the Sea together, or the five times Henry broke his arm, or the one time in flag football when Owen ran the whole field and juked every one of the Chiefs and Coach Troy picked him up and swung him into the air out of sheer joy? Or the time you guys came in last in a Lego robot contest but didn’t cry, or the time we had a funeral for a dead quail, or the night we thought our dog Lucy was going to die because she had a stroke and her eyes were vibrating in their sockets, but then she didn’t die, and even now she’s still alive and chasing tennis balls, even though her breath is demonically bad and sometimes she falls over for no reason at all?

I hope so, because those are some of the happiest memories of my life. Every day you renew the world. Thank you for letting me and Mom be witnesses to your lives.


Doerr is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See

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