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.
|Illustration by Jacob Below
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.