I’m in the Midwest visiting a little girl who steals the heart. When she swings her gaze at me and opens into a smile, I feel like the sun breaks through a cloud. Roz is a 10-month old lodestar, my granddaughter by marriage, and I’ve finally been able to make this trip to meet her. How does a little child make me feel so much joy? In the brief day with her yesterday I watched the sunbreak spread to strangers who glanced her way in a garden, on the street, in a café. They stopped short and then lingered, as if jerked from their daily plod, as if splashed into a universe of bliss.
And what a stellar resting state it is she shares, so much superior to the marching orders that besiege my mind.
Little Roz is quite the unguent for me. It’s early December; these are dark days of fall. My daughter in Asia texted last week that she misses family. She said she was wearing a pair of my earrings that I asked her to take with her last time she was home. I imagined her texting, then putting a thumb and forefinger to the earrings, one and then the other. I texted back that I was wearing one of my mom’s shirts, and a jacket of my mom’s as a cover.
I didn’t tell her about the day I’d finished the last of my mom’s face lotion, and the day, a month later, that I finally let the container go. Or about mom’s striped button-up shirt that’s too short, but that fits enough to wear. In the year since mom’s death I wear her clothes from time to time. Gradually, after a dozen wearings for some of her shirts, after ten dozen times of flipping past others on hangers, I let them go. After I texted my daughter, I laundered the striped button-up shirt and placed it in the Goodwill box.
Sometimes when I visit dad, I’ll point to my shirt and say, “This was mom’s.” He’ll give me a look that’s a lot like Roz’s.