“This is going to be the most beautiful basket ever!”
She pauses, watches me after saying this, and I agree that it will be a beautiful basket while wondering how long we will keep it, imagining it dropping seeds and dried flowers in whatever corner it inhabits.
She’s wearing a hooded, terry cloth giraffe dress that may actually be a nightgown or bathrobe. She pulled on the spotted leg warmers I gave her to stave off a meltdown over a lack of brown tights, telling me earnestly and without the “you’re so stupid tone” that I expect will come in a few years, “These are cows, Mom.”
Her face peeks out from the hood, like an elf, wisps of blond hair tangle around her cheeks.
I keep watching her, focusing in, trying to capture her face, long stripped of it’s baby fat, her cheeks smooth and clear, her chin pointed. Her eyes are bright with enthusiasm and mouth curved into a smile.
I trace that curve with my eyes, wonder if I could conjure that exact curve if she were swept away or if I would have to rely on pictures.
One night after Henry died. I stumbled downstairs in the dark, flipped through picture after picture. I had woken with an image of him white and swollen as the Michelin man, and I couldn’t pull up a picture of what he really looked like, so I turned to pictures until I could see him again in my head.
I can’t tell you if I am being present as I focus on K’s face, try to imprint it, or if I am being morbid.
I’m thinking about how quickly life can change (be swept away, lost) because I’m reading Rare Bird. Such a loss isn’t theoretical to me, and yet it is the book that has me thinking about what I could lose.
Henry almost died seven years ago this month, but when he pulled through, I assumed he would live. I assume now that my girls will too, even though I know that change from ordinary life to inconceivable can happen so quickly.
Instead of, if she died would I remember, I could ask, in twenty years when she’s grown will I be able to conjure up her face, the soft smooth skin, the narrow chin, the sweet curve of her mouth, not turned up quite enough to activate he dimples.
For either question, the answer is the same.
I won’t get all the details. Even now, one day later, they are slipping from me. I see her mouth but not her long lashes, the color of her lips but not the exact shade of her cheeks.
I won’t remember her face perfectly. I may not remember this day at all. Or maybe someday, I’ll see a basket decorated with dried flower and natural debris, or she’ll say, “Remember that giraffe dress?” And I’ll see us. Even if I don’t remember the exact curve of her mouth, I’ll feel the enthusiasm from her smile. I’ll feel the smile curve up on my own face and the warm gold bathing us on a late fall day
The first Write with Me Wednesday focused on a string of memories. Today, we focus on something we might forget, a little moment.
Take one moment from today.
What do you think you’ll remember? What details that you might forget can you capture now?