Big Erasers Don’t Smudge

As I watched Luca do her homework tonight, I wondered how long it’s been since I’d used a number two pencil?

Soft, dark lead trailed her every stroke. When she was finished writing her name at the top of each sheet of paper, I watched her tackle a page-full of math problems.

Occasionally, she’d ask for help, but I knew from her eyes she didn’t need my help. By asking questions every so often, Luca was able to keep me nearby. Her brothers and sisters were downstairs watching a Scooby Doo movie.


When she moved to the spelling and vocabulary section, I watched her find vocabulary words within the word search. Her eyes darted back and forth while she used the pencil to keep her place.

I didn’t want to be the one to tell her she’d have to wait to see the movie another night because she refused to practice the piano earlier. She still had homework to complete, and why upset her now?

She finished Monday’s homework and started in on Tuesday’s assignment. I stayed with her. She scooted her chair next to mine and sat on her knees as close to the table as possible. I watched her whip her pencil around like a symphony conductor.

“It’s important to have a big eraser or it smudges”, she tells me.

She works her way through the next two days worth of homework without a word about the movie.

“Should we wait on Friday’s homework so you’ll have something to do later?”, I ask.

“Nope, I want to finish it now, and you can help”

It’s not often that Kim has the kids corralled downstairs and I’m able to focus my attention on Luca for an hour. I like to watch her work through problems. Sometimes she doodles words in the margins or reworks math problems out loud.

I know she’s finished when she asks to see my iPhone so she can check the weather. She’ll check the temperature in Ogden and St. George Utah because that’s where her grandparents live.

Maybe knowing the temperature makes her feel a little closer to them.

4 thoughts on “Big Erasers Don’t Smudge

  1. This was the sweetest and most insightful piece of fatherly writing I've read in a long time. In my mind I can just see the cute scooting towards the table – and I'm touched that she wanted to check on weather where her grandparents are. You're obviously doing more than one thing right. And Luca is a lucky – and lovely – young lady.


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