|Illustration by Jacob Below|
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
On May 18th it was six years to the day since Ruby died. She was two months shy of her sixth birthday when she passed, so she's now been exploring new worlds longer than she explored this one. If anyone could learn all the lessons this world had to offer in such a short time, it would've been her.
I'm sure I'd barely recognize my peanut now at almost twelve years old, though she may not find me too familiar either. My hair is whiter by the day, and I've thought recently about just letting it all grow long and crazy with a Viking beard to match. She'd like that.
I'm remarkably peaceful these days, though I hesitate to say that and jinx it. My children's picture book, a fine tribute to her, is finally finished and available for purchase. I just returned from a wonderful trip and Kris and I are already planning our next adventure. I don't have much of a career, but I like writing more anyway, and I do have a summer job as a camp recreation director that I'm looking forward to starting after visiting my family next week. It might even include a football instruction component. I'm still healthy enough to squat and deadlift even if not as heavy as at my peak, though I'm no closer to coming to terms with the idea of a day in the future when lifting might not be possible. Maybe I'll just fight that inevitability until the end. I'm in what I think is a healthy and mutually supportive relationship and have been now for several years, though I think it's probably bad karma to talk much about that.
All to say I'm in a pretty good place even with a gaping hole that will never close and that I wouldn't close if I could. I guess one can be incomplete and grateful at the same time.
Here's another short Ruby-inspired verse I wrote when she was just a toddler and recently tinkered with a bit. It's as I remember her—adventurous, independent, and free-thinking. I may have this one illustrated too so don't steal it or I'll come looking.
The Baby Who Likes to Take Showers
Most babies prefer a bath, but a shower is fine for me.
I'm not sure of the reason. I just like what I like, you see?
While they’re content to sit and play,
I stomp and splash in the misty spray.
I know by heart the creaking of the stall's door
and come running—pitter pat—tiny feet across the floor.
My excitement I cannot contain,
though mommy pleads with me in vain.
“Wait, my sweet. You’re still in your jammies, and the water’s so cold.
How on earth did I get this baby so bold?”
If the mischievous cherub could talk, she might say,
'Tis true I'm not dressed for the occasion. Who cares? I'll come anyway.
I never sit for more than a minute.
Running; jumping; always pushing the limit.
It's been this way right from the start.
I came early, small but mighty, with such a big heart.
I’m not much for a nap either.
Might miss something; no time for a breather.
I’d rather wrestle with daddy at night
than lay down my head and give up the fight.
Why slow down? I’m the only baby covered in perspiration.
So in I jump; head first, no hesitation.
Mom, when you've had enough and it’s time to clean up, please plop me in the shower.
Water droplets running down my rosy cheeks give me a feeling of power.
I’m a big girl in this small body,
and showering is this baby’s own unique hobby.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Others around me seem so carefree.
I have to wonder what the hell is wrong with me.
Their naive happiness seems a shallow goal.
Searching instead for a way to save my wretched soul.
My disillusionment easily justified.
In these fools I find no allies.
Ignorant and unable to see
Basic truths so obvious to me.
But perhaps there’s another turn of this phrase.
Surely they’re not all skipping along in a blissful haze.
Maybe it’s me who doesn’t really care.
Their trivial problems and insecurities I can’t bear.
When the daughter I love is dead in the ground,
Others whining and complaining just isn’t profound.
The thing they don’t get
Is that this day-to-day crap doesn’t matter one little bit.
Posting those perfect photos of a fake life.
Self-esteem hangs in the balance of those coveted likes.
It's so easy to be an Insta-slut.
That ass shot isn't art; it's just smut.
Don’t forget to flash the bottom of those Louboutins.
Seen it all before; this tired act makes me yawn.
What they’ll find at the end of their time
Is that they’re a dozen a dime.
Praise from strangers they don’t even know.
As fickle as the direction a breeze may blow.
Gone at the first hint of trouble.
I’ll be the one to burst that pathetic bubble.
They keep right on ignoring those who really matter.
Consumed by social media’s incessant chatter.
Wasting precious time they can never replace.
All in this vain effort to win the rat race.
I dropped out long ago.
It wasn’t a hard decision to forgo.
I just had to be shown the light.
The key to it all hidden in plain sight.
Oh but what a stiff price to pay
To finally have something important to say.
This knowledge few will bother to heed.
Fame and fortune they think they need.
It’s those small moments that really matter the most.
Cherish them now rather than chasing a ghost.
That’s the big secret I’m trying to tell,
Though it doesn’t seem to matter how hard I yell.
My warning so easy to ignore.
They see me as a preachy bore.
Daughter gone yet my words ring hollow.
One bitter pill after another to swallow.
If only my simple truth they would hear,
Pain finds us all but guilt and regret might disappear.
My only choice now is to walk a few more miles.