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Three Is Our Secret Number · 28 March 2009

According to Schoolhouse Rock, “Three is a magic number.” At our house, it is also a secret number. Of course, not so secret now that I am writing about it. But what good is a secret if you can not share it with people who are not supposed to know. Just do not tell my family that you heard it from me.


It all started out when I heard our youngest, Thing 3, telling his mother, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, that he had a secret number. He whispered in her ear to tell her what it was. (He has obviously learned how to whisper in the past few years, because he used to just make hissing sorts of noises when he whispered.) The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi laughed and said, “There is a secret salute too.” She held up her hand and showed three fingers. They both smiled broadly. They had this great secret together.


Of course, they did not have this secret for long. After all, I was watching. And even if The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi could keep a secret, she and Thing 3 would be showing their secret salute and saying their secret number to each other all the time. Everybody would know the secret in short order. Naturally, I figured that I would blow the secret early and tell the world of our family’s secret number.


In our family, the secret number 3 does not just have a secret salute, it also has a secret hand squeeze. Three squeezes when any two of us hold hands means, “I love you.” As Thing 3 processed the ramifications of his new secret number which had grown into a secret salute and was already a secret hand squeeze, he said “Four could also be a magic number.” My wife puzzled it out and realized that a series of four squeezes is the secret hand squeeze reply. When somebody squeezes her hand three times to say, “I love you,” she naturally squeezes back four times to say, “I love you too.” Four became a magic number too.


In the five minutes after Thing 3 whispered the secret number to his mother, we had a secret salute, a secret hand squeeze, a second secret number, and a second secret hand squeeze. It was too much even for me to keep secret. After all, I thought that a whispering child was entertaining enough to write about. Why not a number?


Even though it is no longer a secret, I am glad that our family has two secret numbers, a secret salute, and two secret hand squeezes. I am glad that we can say “I love you,” and “I love you too,” with those secrets. Maybe when the kids are getting too old to blow and catch kisses, maybe they can still give that secret salute. And I hope they will always give those secret hand squeezes.


I must agree with Schoolhouse Rock. Three is definitely a magic number. Any gesture, touch, or number that says, “I love you,” is magical.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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