04 May 2015

Sweet 16, sweet sweet baby girl

George and I used to sit around and wonder what we did before Abbey.

I measure my life in her smiles.

She came into this world gently with a sparkling joy.

She holds on through the darkness, clinging less tightly now.

She has special gifts, intuition, empathy, maybe magic.

She's got jokes.

Once a coach told her to stop smiling; she told me she would rather quit playing.

She looks for happiness and where there is none she creates it.

She tests me, and tells me what I don't know.  She makes me listen until I do.  She makes me want to be better.  "Good kid, m.A.A.d City."

The first time I realized she was separate from me she was 4 years old and Jake was a baby.  She nurtured him when he woke up from his nap and talked to him, maybe she was actually waking him.
She pushed him in the swing and in the stroller.  They were never far out of ear shot from me.

But one day, distracted with laundry, I walked by Jake’s room to hear Abbey telling him a story.  She made up tales of princesses and great adventures.  And if he giggled or made a sound she encouraged him to join in on the telling.

I stopped by the door to listen, and at that moment,  this necessary thought occurred to me for the first time: she isn’t mine.   

She’s speaks an entire world into existence that I know nothing about.   

I will only know what she shows me, what I’m careful to observe.  

And I paused, thanking God for trusting me with her.

a model of Simon Armitage "Not the Furniture Game"

Hold tight, loosen the grip

Her hair is a goose down blanket in a cool spring evening
Her eyes are the night sky over the edge of the reeds and
again in the morning, the sun peeking through the marsh clouds
Her nose is a puppy sniffing territory
Her ears are the echoes of Aristotle, Thoreau, Rumi, Christ
Her cheeks are cupcakes
and her lips are a chocolate mustache.
Her smile, the freedom of every prisoner, the saving of every repressed woman, the birth of every child, the return of every refugee to his homeland.
Her freckles are the Andromeda Galaxy
Her intellect is dandelion pollen
Her heart is a broken string on the guitar that can still play G
Her fear is the pavement as the cars roll over it
Her arms are streamers
Her fingers are Lennox bud vases
Her torso is ivy
Her trust is a space shuttle on its final flight
and her shoulders, cobblestone walls
her legs are bamboo
and her knees are conch shells
Her feet are helium balloons
Her strength is a James Patterson novel on the sofa
and her toes are Crayolas

She walks in the opposite direction and
my empty hands that
held sand before the glass, laugh

Maybe she gauges her life in my smiles.

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