Friday, April 29, 2011

A Child's Life

April 29, 2011

Hi Andrea,

            Sahara is seven.  You have never met her.  She is sleeping in my queen sized bed with Sadie curled up next to her.  I read her Mother Night and How Bonny Little Bear Got Her Tutu.  I have a loaf of cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest on the kitchen counter downstairs.  In the morning, I will cut thick slices and make her cinnamon toast with warm maple syrup.

            I love the company of a child.  I love the honesty and openness to possibilities.  A child will invite me to swing with her, ignoring my graying roots, the dark circles under my eyes and the lines in my face.  A child will climb into my lap wanting nothing more than the warmth of my body.  A child will sing with me at the top of her lungs to any song.  She will dance with me and encourage me to dance with myself.  A child will ask me about you and not watch me for signs of a breakdown.

            And children’s movies are safe for me.  I feel silly going by myself.  I borrow my great niece, a friend’s child, like I used to borrow cups of sugar.  At children’s movies, I can laugh.  I know it is fiction. 

            I will not go to “grown up” movies anymore.  On New Year’s Eve, right after you died, I went to a comedy with a friend.  The previews of upcoming releases included one for The Lovely Bones.  I tripped over outstretched feet trying to reach the aisle.  I could not breathe.  When I made it to the lobby I was gulping for air.   Anything rated PG or over may leave me paralyzed.  It is best to avoid that.  
          Tonight I went to a children’s movie.  Sahara sat next to me in a darkened theater.  We went to see Rio.   I loved the colors of animated tropical birds, the music, the humor.  It is a story of the power of love.   Half way through the movie, Sahara turned to me.  “I know how this is going to end.”  She said. 

            “You do?”  I answered.

            She shook her head up and down emphatically.  “I do.” She said.

            “How?”  I asked.

            “Blu is going to fly.” 

            “How do you know that?”  I asked her.

            “I just know.”  She answered turning her attention back to the movie.

            I wish I had her confidence.  Her belief that everything is going to turn out a certain way.  

            I know now, we cannot count on happy endings--the story can be unpredictable and take you places you did not expect.  Even to places you did not want to go.

            Tonight this is how the story of this day will end--I will finish this letter to you.  When I have signed my name and sent it off I will put on my pajamas and brush my teeth.  I will search my face for evidence of new lines and note a deepening of the ones where I smile.  I will crawl under the down comforter next to the sleeping child in my bed.  I am humbled and  strengthened by her innocence and confidence. 

                                                                   Love You and Miss You